On September 19, 2017, CPDA President Sue Ferenc and CPDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Sylvia Palmer met with Bill Perry and Maureen Ruskin, Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance, to discuss the upcoming December 1, 2017 deadline under the 2012 Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012) for the relabeling of non-pesticide agricultural products, under the control of a distributor, that are packaged in sealed containers and stored in warehouses. The deadline is set forth under OSHA Directive Number CPL 02-02-079, issued on July 9, 2015. During the meeting, CPDA staff conveyed their concerns regarding the December 1, 2017 deadline explaining that while it granted temporary relief from the original deadline of December 1, 2015, it was nonetheless limited in scope and duration and did not fully take into consideration the unique way in which non-pesticide agricultural products are sold and resold in the agricultural chemicals marketplace. CPDA representatives raised the possibility of OSHA granting an extension of the deadline in the form of an amendment to its Directive that would be narrowly crafted and limited specifically to products of extremely long shelf life including tank-mix adjuvants, plant nutritional products, soil amendments and fertilizer products.
As reported previously, CPDA has engaged extensively with OSHA on advocating for changes to HCS 2012 that would stipulate that sealed containers in warehouses would not have to be relabeled based on new hazard information if an updated label is transmitted electronically to downstream entities as is allowed for updated safety data sheets. Throughout these discussions, OSHA officials have expressed a willingness to work with the Council in the development of possible modifications to the regulation as part of a future rulemaking to better align it with the sixth revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). CPDA is in the process of drafting formal comments for submission to an OSHA open docket that will urge the Agency to follow an approach patterned after EPA’s “Released for Shipment” precedent to prevent the need to relabel compliantly labeled pesticide products once manufactured and released for warehousing and distribution. CPDA will also encourage allied associations representing affected members of the chemical manufacturing and distribution industry to submit similar comments to the docket.
In the interim, CPDA will continue to work with OSHA in securing a limited carve-out from the December 1st deadline for compliance with the Directive that currently applies to distributors of non-pesticide agricultural products such as tank-mix adjuvants, plant nutritional products, and fertilizers pending a final resolution of this issue as part of the anticipated effort to update HCS 2012.