Saturday, November 22, 2008

Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS) - Relationship to Other Regulatory Programs

Implementation of the Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS) in the US will indirectly affect other regulatory compliance programs. The communication of hazards is required by OSHA, however certain aspects are also regulated by other agencies. The USEPA regulates labeling and hazard communication for pesticides; the US DOT regulates the labeling and placarding of hazardous materials while in transport. These agencies will also be responding to the GHS.

Although required by OSHA, the information contained in an MSDS will be used by other regulatory programs. For example, many facilities that have an air emission permit and must prepare an annual air emission inventory (AEI) will utilize the information contained in their raw material MSDSs to determine their facility emissions. Facilities may also use the MSDS data to determine if wastes contain chemicals that are used to identify “hazardous wastes”. Previously, information on other regulations that may apply to a chemical has not been required to be included in an MSDS. This is primarily due to the fact that OSHA, the agency requiring the MSDS, did not have authority in these other areas. In many cases, companies preparing MSDSs have included information on other regulatory programs. For example, an MSDS will often list the Reportable Quantity (RQ) under CERCLA in the event of spills. Under the GHS, information on other regulations that apply to the substance is required on the MSDS. One of the challenges chemical manufacturers and distributors will have is to determine what regulations apply – especially considering that this is an “international” system, and therefore would not be limited to the regulations of one country, such as the US.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

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