Understanding HAZCOM 2012: Part 1

By: Jack E. Shea, REM, Regulatory Director | August 20, 2015


Understanding OSHA’s new Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) 2012 system has proven to be confusing and overwhelming to many chemical manufacturers and distributors. Over the next several weeks, we will be posting a series of blogs designed to help explain HCS 2012 to those who are affected by it most.

Here we are, nearly three months past the new HCS 2012 deadline for manufactures to provide compliant SDSs and labels –whew! Now it’s the distributors turn to make sure they meet the December 1, 2015 deadline for compliance. So here’s the big question: Is your company a manufacturer or a distributor? On July 20, 2015 OSHA released a Comprehensive Enforcement Directive for Inspectors (CPL 02-02-079). This OSHA directive “clarifies” OSHA’s interpretation of the various supply chain partners and deadline requirements.

In the directive, on page 18, OSHA defines a manufacturer “as a company that repackages, blends, mixes, or otherwise changes the composition of a chemical”. I know what you might be thinking— “I buy bulk chemical from a manufacturer, store it in a bulk storage tank, and then drum it off for distribution to my customers. I am NOT a manufacturer!” This school of thinking is wrong. According to OSHA, you are now considered a manufacturer. The OSHA directive further explains that “the first employer meeting the definition of a manufacturer will be responsible for performing the hazard classification, developing or obtaining the SDSs, and labeling the containers of the hazardous chemicals.”, meaning that the most recent repacker of the material is responsible for providing GHS compliant SDSs and labels.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that OSHA has a different interpretation of the chemical distribution supply chain that most distributors. The good news? Focus Systems and ChemScribe ™ can help! Our SDS and labeling software were created to help your company meet the requirements of the HCS 2012.

Keep checking back in the coming weeks as we will continue to dissect the OSHA directive to help you better understand HCS 2012 and your company’s responsibilities in the future.


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