OSHA enforcement to provide GHS compliance relief for certain downstream chemical users
OSHA has announced that it will not cite those members of the downstream chemical supply chain who cannot meet the June 1, 2015 deadline to provide GHS labeling -compliant labels and SDSs, due to inability to obtain the information necessary from their upstream suppliers after a diligent and good faith effort.
Specific and detailed documentation will be required to qualify for this discretionary enforcement.
Many downstream users in the US chemical supply chain have found OSHA’s GHS labeling system, scheduled to take effect on June 1, 2015, a challenge to implement. Late in 2014, US chemical industry organizations petitioned OSHA, requesting the agency consider ways to alleviate the burden of adoption on the industry. Proposed options included granting compliance exceptions, extending the implementation deadline, and applying a discretionary enforcement policy in a way that would provide relief to those downstream users who had been making a good faith effort to comply.
On October 31, 2014, OSHA responded to the industry request, declining to extend the deadline or grant exceptions
, but instead, deciding to apply a discretionary enforcement policy to mitigate the pressure on the industry. The agency stated that this option would require the fewest resources and delay GHS adoption the least, with specific guidance forthcoming.
OSHA released the guidance on February 9, 2015. In it, the agency states that through February 9, 2017, it will not cite those members of the downstream chemical supply chain who cannot meet the June 1, 2015 deadline to provide GHS-compliant labels and SDSs, due to inability to obtain the information necessary from their upstream suppliers.
To be considered for this discretionary enforcement relief, a company must provide:
- Documented evidence of attempts to obtain the necessary information from upstream suppliers.
- Documented evidence of efforts to obtain information from other sources.
- Documented evidence of attempts to classify the data on its own.
- A clear and enforceable timeline for compliance.
Once a company receives the necessary hazard information, SDSs must be created and in use within six months, with compliant container labeling implemented within six months of SDS implementation.