CPDA Requests Two-Year Extension of Product Relabeling Deadline Under OSHA’s 2012 Hazard Communication Standard

On October 4, 2017, CPDA President Sue Ferenc wrote a letter to Thomas Galassi, OSHA’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, requesting a 2-year extension of 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.  The letter follows a September 19, 2017 meeting with Bill Perry and Maureen Ruskin, Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance, during which CPDA staff conveyed the Council’s concerns regarding the December 1, 2017 deadline.  Specifically, CPDA representatives explained 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 discussed 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 (i.e., biostimulants and biorationals), soil amendments and fertilizers in end-use containers (bags and jugs).

Elaborating on the issues addressed during the September meeting, in her letter Dr. Ferenc stated, “OSHA’s Directive provided temporary relief to distributors of non-pesticide agricultural products allowing them to ship containers that bear HCS 1994-compliant labels that are already ‘packaged for shipment’ – meaning those existing stocks that are boxed, palletized, or shrink-wrapped – until December 1, 2017 before the need to relabel.  While CPDA appreciated OSHA’s willingness to provide this temporary relief, it was nonetheless limited in scope and duration and did not fully take into consideration the unique way in which these products are sold and resold in the agricultural chemical marketplace.”

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 been amenable to working 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.  To read a copy of the October 4th CPDA letter, please click here.