How are the HCS 2012-compliant SDSs and labels enforced?

HCS Enforcement

Barrett Pryce

Barrett Pryce

Marketing Manager

Barrett Pryce is the Marketing Manager with Vivid Learning Systems, an online safety training provider making life a little easier for safety professionals.

This is the published guidance given by OSHA to field Compliance Safety & Health Officers

June 1, 2015 Effective Date

  • June 1, 2015 is the date by which chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must be in compliance with all modified provisions of the HCS.
  • The June 1, 2015 effective date applies to manufacturers and importers developing HCS 2012-compliant SDSs and labels.
  • For inspections occurring after the June 1, 2015 compliance date that involve a mixture that does not have an HCS-compliant label or SDS, OSHA’s Compliance Safety & Health Officers (CSHOs) shall determine if the manufacturer or importer has exercised reasonable diligence and good faith to comply with the terms of the standard.
  • CSHOs shall not cite a manufacturer or importer for failing to meet the June 1, 2015 deadline to have updated labels or updated SDSs if the chemical manufacturer or importer exercised reasonable diligence and good faith in attempting to obtain HCS 2012-compliant SDSs and classification information from its upstream raw material supplier(s).
  • When necessary, OSHA will exercise its enforcement discretion to allow for a reasonable time period for manufacturers or importers to come into compliance.
  • In contrast, on or after June 2, 2015, upstream raw material suppliers that do not have an HCS compliant SDS or label available for downstream manufacturers or product formulators of mixtures will not be in compliance.
  • Upstream raw material suppliers must provide HCS compliant SDSs to downstream manufacturers or importers with the first shipment and after an SDS is updated..
  • If a downstream manufacturer or importer requests an updated SDS prior to receiving a new shipment, the upstream supplier must provide it immediately.
  • If the Agency is made aware of a manufacturer or importer requesting but not receiving a revised SDS from an upstream raw material supplier, the matter shall be referred for further enforcement action to the appropriate Area Office with jurisdiction over the employer. A citation for a violation of 1910.1200 shall be considered.

"Reasonable Diligence" and "Good Faith Efforts"

In order to determine if a manufacturer or importer has established "reasonable diligence" and "good faith efforts," the CSHO must review its overall efforts, attention, and action(s) taken to comply with the new HCS.

Upon request from a CSHO, a manufacturer or importer must provide documentation of its substantive efforts to:

  • Obtain classification information and SDSs from upstream suppliers;
  • Find hazard information from alternative sources (e.g., chemical registries); and,
  • Classify the data themselves.

Establishing reasonable diligence and good faith effort requires that the manufacturer or importer demonstrate attempt(s) to obtain the necessary SDSs through both oral and written communication directly with the upstream supplier.

For each mixture shipped by a manufacturer or importer after June 1, 2015 that does not comply with HCS 2012, the CSHO shall consider whether the manufacturer or importer:

(a) Developed and documented the process used to gather the necessary classification information from its upstream suppliers and the status of such efforts;

(b) Developed and documented efforts to find hazard information from alternative sources (e.g., chemical registries);

(c) Provided a written account of continued dialogue with its upstream suppliers, including dated copies of all relevant written communication with its upstream suppliers;

(d) Provided a written account of continued dialogue with its distributors, including dated copies of all relevant written communication with its distributors informing them why it has been unable to comply with HCS 2012; and,

(e) Developed the course of action it will follow to make the necessary changes to SDSs and labels.

Although the CSHO must consider all of the above factors, any combination of these efforts may, depending on the circumstance, be consistent with reasonable diligence and good faith efforts.

The CSHO shall always consider whether the manufacturer or importer attempted to obtain the hazard information in a timely manner in determining whether a manufacturer or importer exercised reasonable diligence and made good faith efforts to comply.

Reasonable diligence and good faith also requires that the manufacturer or importer provide a clear timeline for when it expects to comply with the revised HCS.

Questions and Answers for CSHOs

Question: Has the June 1, 2015 effective date been extended for all manufacturers or importers to produce HCS 2012-compliant SDSs and labels?

Answer: The June 1, 2015 deadline has not been extended for all manufacturers, importers, or product formulators to produce HCS 2012-compliant SDSs and labels. However, manufacturers and product formulators of mixtures that have made reasonable and good faith efforts to meet the effective date but, due to circumstances outside of their control, have not been able to do so, will be allowed a reasonable time period to come into compliance.

Question: I'm a distributor that has pallets of existing stock of individual containers with HCS 1994-compliant labels on them. Do I need to remove the old label from each individual container and replace it with a new HCS 2012-compliant label?

Answer: After December 1, 2015, distributors shall not ship chemicals without HCS-2012 compliant labels. In the situation where a distributor's supplier has not been able to comply with the June 1, 2015 compliance date despite reasonable diligence and good faith efforts, the distributor may continue to ship HCS 1994-compliant labels. The distributor must be able to document its communication with the supplier to determine the circumstances for the supplier's noncompliance with HCS 2012.

Question: I'm an employer, and have not received updated SDSs or labels for some of the hazardous chemicals I use in my business. Will OSHA issue a citation to me?

Answer: No.