OSHA’s GHS HazCom Rule: Training Deadline is December 1, 2013

NASF members should be ready to comply with new training and other requirements under OSHA’s implementation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).  Did you know the deadline for the first round of regulations is  December 1, 2013?

The GHS is an approach for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals.  OSHA is now implementing the framework through its revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), first published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2012.  The new rule aims for a more logical approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazards on labels and safety data sheets.  Companies that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals must periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard.  Employees must be trained as well.

What GHS Means to You

The new rules contain a new set of terminology for communicating potential chemical hazards in the workplace.  Companies handling chemicals will need to replace old Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) with new Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and update labels to meet GHS requirements, including new pictograms.  In addition, businesses will need to train employees to read the new SDSs and labels.

What are the Regulatory Deadlines?

By December 1, 2013, businesses must train employees regarding hazards of chemicals or categories of chemicals and the new label elements and SDS format.

By June 1, 2015, all labels and SDSs must be updated by chemical manufacturers, distributors or importers.  Distributors have an additional six months to distribute containers with manufacturers’ labels.

By June 1, 2106, employers must update Hazard Communication program and signs to comply with the new GHS requirements.

More Information from NASF and OSHA

NASF is preparing more information to assist companies with compliance.  In the meantime, background and guidance on complying with the GHS and the hazard communication standard is available on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.

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NASF Suppliers Discuss Chemical Laws as Debate Heats Up

NASF’s Supplier Committee met in Chicago this month to discuss priority issues for the industry and the business and compliance outlook for chemical and equipment companies.  The agenda included the effort on Capitol Hill to rewrite the current U.S. chemicals law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Health, consumer and environmental groups are now calling for tougher U.S. chemicals laws and criticizing the current bipartisan TSCA reform bill in the Senate as inadequate.

In May, the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) renewed the push to update the TSCA law.  Since then, the Senate bill has picked up bipartisan support and has received high marks from both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the chemical industry.  NASF continues to participate in broader industry discussions on the measure.  While many agree that the law needs to be updated, they disagree on just how to make that happen.

Activist groups are now ramping up a broader campaign to bring attention to the issue.  Actor Sean Penn is promoting the cause with a new documentary, “The Human Experiment” which focuses on chemicals in everyday household products and their effects on humans.

Actress Jennifer Beals is also supporting the effort to influence the debate, and will take part in a “stroller brigade” in Washington next week to spotlight the issue.  The event, which will feature a “show and tell” of harmful products, will include mothers, cancer survivors, public health workers and others.

One of the biggest issues under discussion is whether the new federal legislation would prevent states from enacting more stringent laws than the federal government.  The activists campaigning on the issue want states to be allowed to pass their own tougher chemicals laws.   The latest call encouraging more action in the states can be found here from the Center for Effective Government, formerly known as OMB Watch.


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BLS Releases September Jobs Data After Shutdown

The Bureau of Labor Statistics was back on the job this week and reports U.S. jobs for September were up 148,000, with unemployment remaining even at 7.2 percent.  While employment increased in construction, transportation, wholesale trade and warehousing, the nation’s already modest job growth appears to be decelerating.  “This is not exactly welcome news when the U.S. labor market is still about 1.8 million jobs shy of the January 2008 peak for nonfarm employment,” notes MAPI’s Cliff Waldman.

On a positive note, housing is rebounding and global growth has turned up in the past two months.  See the new BLS Report for September here.

Posted in Business, Economy | Tagged , ,

Obama Signs Bill to End Shutdown, Raise Debt Limit

President Obama signed a bill yesterday morning to reopen the government and raise the debt limit, ending a 16-day shutdown and setting the stage for longer-term budget negotiations in the weeks ahead.

The last-minute deal crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will fund the government through Jan. 15 and extend the nation’s borrowing authority until Feb. 7. The bill does not include major changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as many congressional Republicans had demanded, but the plan does include a provision ensuring that individuals seeking subsidies to purchase health insurance under the new health care law provide income verification.

The bill easily passed the Senate 81-18 yesterday evening and the House relied mostly on Democratic votes to pass the bill 285-144. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who voted for the bill, vowed to continue the fight to address the nation’s debt and stop Obamacare.

Part of the deal reached calls for House and Senate conferees to negotiate a longer-term budget plan by Dec. 13. That budget conference committee will be led by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA). There are major differences between the budgets passed earlier this year by the House and Senate. For example, the Senate bill would raise close to $1 trillion in taxes over the next 10 years, while the House plan would not raise taxes.

Posted in Law & Regulation

NASF’s Education Foundation Now Accepting Scholarship Applications

NASF’s educational foundation is accepting applications for its 2013 university scholarship program.  The scholarship award is $1,500, and is awarded to either a graduate student or undergraduate (enrolled as a junior or senior in the 2013–2014 academic year) in chemical engineering, material science or engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgical engineering, environmental engineering or chemistry.

Candidates must demonstrate academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular activities.

Applications must be received by November 22, 2013.  The winner of this year’s award will be notified by December 15, 2013.

For more information or to download an application, click on the Education tab at NASF.org more information.

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Industry Groups Challenge European REACH Law on Chromium Trioxide

A German industry association recently filed a legal challenge against the European Commission regarding the authorization of chromium trioxide and related compounds pursuant to REACH.  The law’s so-called “authorization” framework would ban the use of chromium trioxide in the European Union unless parties submit specific information to justify its continued use for critical applications such as surface finishing.

The challenge alleges that the Commission erred in its assessment of chromium trioxide for authorization and failed to provide an exemption for the continued use of chromium trioxide and other related compounds in the surface coatings industry.  In addition, the challenge claims that the Commission failed to provide key documents that formed the basis of the Commission’s actions, thereby denying the industry’s rights and violating “the principles of sound administration and excellence of scientific advice.”

VECCO is a group dedicated to the preservation of the use and benefit of chromium trioxide and other hexavalent chromium compounds in the surface finishing industry.  Although the group was formed for this specific purpose, it is working in cooperation with other European industry groups regarding the challenges stemming from the authorization of chromium trioxide and other related compounds pursuant to the REACH regulation.

For more information regarding this action, please contact Jeff Hannapel at jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com.

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Cobalt Metal and Nickel Nanoparticles to Be Included in NTP Report on Carcinogens

On September 20, 2013 the U.S.-based National Toxicology Program (NTP) issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting information on 20 new substances (including cobalt metal and nickel nanoparticles) that have been nominated for possible review and inclusion in NTP’s next Report on Carcinogens (RoC).  78 Fed. Reg. 57868 (2013).   The NTP is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Specifically, NTP requests information on the current production, use patterns, human exposure, and studies and other scientific information regarding the carcinogenicity of each of these 20 substances.  The information will be used to determine if NTP should propose a formal evaluation of these substances for the next RoC.  The deadline for receipt of this information is October 18, 2013.

The RoC is a congressionally mandated, science-based, public health report that identifies agents, substances, mixtures and exposures in the environment that pose a cancer hazard to humans.  The RoC is published biennially and is a cumulative list consisting of newly reviewed substances as well as those listed in previous editions of the RoC.

More information on the RoC is available on the NTP website at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc.  If you have any further questions or would like additional information about this specific action or the RoC generally, please contact Jeff Hannapel at jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com

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