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the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over the last four years. OSHA adopted HCS 2012 to align with the U.N.’s Globally Harmo- nized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. To sum- marize, OSHA changed the methodol- ogy for classification of hazards and standardized the elements and format for label and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Under HCS 2012, labels must include specific pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements based on the updated hazard classifica- tion. Furthermore, SDS must follow a standardized 16-section format that includes the chemical information based on the updated hazard classification. Given the complete overhaul of its HCS, OSHA implemented a four-year phase-in period for manufacturers, distributors, importers and employers to come into compliance. During this phase-in, companies were allowed to comply with either the old hazard communication standard or HCS 2012. Employers were required to train employ- ees by December 2013. Manufacturers, importers and distributors were required to comply with the SDS requirements by June 2015. Manufacturers and importers were required to comply with the labeling requirements by June 2015. Distribu- tors needed to comply with the labeling requirements by December 2015. Employers also must be in compliance,


uch has been written about the new hazard communication standard (HCS 2012) from

citations based on violations of the HCS, including more than 1,800 for failing to provide effective training, more than 1,700 for failing to develop, implement or maintain a hazard communication program, and more than 800 for failing to maintain SDS or make them readily accessible. We can expect this trend to continue in 2016 and thereafter. However, OSHA’s enforcement ef-

forts will change as it will focus on HCS 2012. In July 2015, OSHA published a comprehensive Directive titled “Inspec- tion Procedures for the Hazard Com- munication Standard.” Te directive, which is available on OSHA’s website, sets forth the inspection guidelines that

employees have access to SDS and other information, but other employees are entitled to access. Employers on multi- employer worksites may determine the method of information exchange. Perhaps the most significant issue

“OSHA has strongly enforced its hazard communication

standards and will continue with HCS 2012.”

but they have until June to complete alter- native workplace labeling of newly identi- fied hazards, provide additional employee training for newly identified hazards, and update written hazard communications. Now what? OSHA will continue to enforce HCS 2012 just as aggressively as it enforced the old hazard communication standard. Year after year, the hazard communication standard makes OSHA’s “Top 10 List” of most frequently cited standards. In 2015, it was the second most frequently cited standard. OSHA issued almost 5,700 total

44 | MODERN CASTING February 2016

OSHA compliance officers must follow to determine compliance with HCS 2012. Several significant issues in the directive are worth highlighting. First, an employer may receive a repeat citation based on a violation of the old HCS and a violation under HCS 2012. An employer shouldn’t receive a repeat citation if the compliance elements under the two standards are dif- ferent, but may receive a repeat citation if the employer committed substantially the same violation, albeit one under the old standard and one under the new standard. OSHA identified several “items”

that are not chemicals in the traditional sense but are covered under HCS 2012, including combustible dust, bricks, metal ingots, simple asphyxiants, welding rods and wires, and oil and gas products. Tus, companies must understand HCS 2012 also includes hazardous byproducts. OSHA also confirmed the same prin- ciples that apply to multi-employer work- sites apply in the context of HCS 2012. Employers on multi-employer worksites must not only ensure that their own

raised in the directive is OSHA has put employers on notice if informa- tion contained in SDS may form the basis of a citation under the General Duty Clause. If a potential exposure to a hazardous chemical exists without a PEL, OSHA may issue a citation under the General Duty Clause. Companies may be unable to comply with HCS 2012 because they have not been able to obtain the SDS or other requisite information from the upstream supplier. In its directive, OSHA offers a “good faith” defense in these situations. To avail itself of the defense, the company must es- tablish it exercised reasonable diligence and used good faith efforts to obtain the informa- tion. Te company should de- velop a process and document steps it has taken to obtain

this information and should provide a written account of the communications or attempted communications with the upstream supplier. Employers may also notify OSHA of its failed attempts to obtain this information from the upstream supplier and engage OSHA’s assistance in communicating with the upstream supplier. OSHA has not stated how long a company may rely on this “good faith” defense after the compliance deadline, but it will likely be premised on a reasonableness standard. In summation, OSHA has always

strongly enforcemed the hazard com- munication standard and will continue with HCS 2012. OSHA will continue to emphasize the same issues, including training, labeling and SDS. Tis article only touches on a handful of issues raised in the directive. Keep in mind the directive is not enforceable itself, but serves as a guide to companies on how OSHA will enforce the standard.

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