The transition to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is being met with mixed sentiment, as some distributors with private label lines are forced to rely on chemical manufacturers to bring them into compliance.

While the deadline for the switch isn’t until June 2015, jan/san distributors say they are trying to stay ahead of schedule by designing and printing labels that meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new labeling requirements.

Distributors who outsource their private label manufacturing have fewer complaints — saying it’s too early in the game to feel any impact — but those who manufacturer products in-house tell Sanitary Maintenance it has been a difficult process to gather necessary documents, such as Safety Data Sheets, from their raw chemical suppliers.  

One of those distributors includes Maintex Inc., in City of Industry, Calif. The company has invested in new printing equipment and has hired additional personnel to handle the GHS transition, but says it has hit a brick wall when it comes to completing the job and getting the products out to its customers.  

“We have everything in place, but we can’t assemble all of the information on the sheets until we receive information from the manufacturers,” says Linda Silverman, Maintex president. “It’s a pretty big process — and we don’t want to be down to the wire.”

Part of the hold-up stems from OSHA’s strict new chemical evaluation and labeling rules — the brunt of which falls on the shoulders of the manufacturers. While it may be frustrating, Silverman says it’s understandable that manufacturers are taking their time to classify their chemicals.

“It’s much more rigid,” she says. “Even fragrances are now ‘hazardous.’ You’re ending up with an eight-page document about the fragrance. Everybody wants to make sure to make proper claims. So, it becomes much more complicated.”

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Here's What You Need To Know About GHS' New Labeling Requirements