On August 12, 2014, ISSA along with eight other trade associations sent a letter to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) petitioning the Agency to provide relief from the implementation dates for labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) under the Hazard Communication Standard as revised by the GHS (HCS 2012) for chemical product formulators and distributors.

Along with ISSA, the petition letter was supported by: American Coating Association (ACA); Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC); American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA); CropLife America; The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD); National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE); and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).

ISSA and the supporting trade associations felt compelled to petition OSHA for relief due to the lack of updated hazard classifications for raw materials up the supply chain. When issuing the final rule, OSHA applied the same compliance date of June 1, 2015 for raw materials, intermediate mixtures, and final formulated products. OSHA assumed that currently available data and expected early compliance would allow for sufficient time for product formulators to receive or locate the necessary HCS 2012 compliant SDSs and then process the information to create new labels and SDSs. Unfortunately, this scenario has not played out like OSHA expected.

Compliance with the single deadline of June 2015 for many manufacturers of formulated products has been virtually impossible because manufacturers of individual raw materials are not required to provide SDSs that conform to the new standard until the June 1, 2015 deadline. Accordingly, manufacturers of formulated products cannot perform adequate hazard classifications which will result in incomplete and inaccurate GHS labels and SDSs for their formulated products if the June 1, 2015 deadline is maintained for formulators and distributors.

The petition filed by ISSA and the other trade associations lays out three potential options for OSHA that will remedy the current compliance issues for affected regulated entities while still achieving the goals of hazard communication: 1) amend HCS 2012 to allow chemical product formulators and distributors until June 1, 2017 to comply with the GHS revisions; 2) approve a two-year temporary variance; or 3) apply a de minimis enforcement policy for product formulators and distributors for 2 years. The proposed options, if accepted, would give additional time for well-intentioned formulators to revise SDSs and labels properly rather than quickly to provide accurate hazard communication information.

ISSA looks forward to meeting with OSHA to discuss industry concerns and potential options to provide relief while ensuring that workers are adequately protected during the implementation of the updated Hazard Communication Standard.