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New Rules Could Shake Up Industry

Monday, January 21, 2013

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SAN ANTONIO—Coating manufacturers are starting to see changes in hazard communications that could potentially impact every safety data sheet in the industry.

That was just part of the new regulatory landscape that Alison Kaelin painted Thursday (Jan. 17) on the closing day of SSPC 2013 in San Antonio, TX.

Some features of that landscape could have a "monstrous impact" on the coatings industry, Kaelin warned in an interview after her presentation, "Current and Emerging Trends in Occupational and Environmental Health."

The presentation, which identified new and existing regulations and trends that may impact the painting industry, came on the heels of 2013 updated regulatory agendas from several government agencies.


Changes in labeling of abrasives and other materials could have a "monstrous impact" on the industry, said Alison Kaelin.

Hazard Communications Standard

On March 26, 2012, OSHA published its final rule on sweeping changes to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) for the General, Construction, and Maritime Industries. The rule became effective May 25, 2012, and will be fully implemented by June 1, 2016.

The updates are part of an effort to align with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), which is being implemented throughout the world, including in Canada, China, Australia, Japan, and the European Union.

In the United States, the Hazard Communication Standard revisions include updated criteria for the classification of chemical hazards, revised labeling provisions, a specified format for safety data sheets, and revisions to definitions and terms used in the standard.

Kaelin showed attendees how the new Hazard Communication Standard works. The changes will be fully implemented by 2016, but many are already taking place.

Aligning with the GHS will provide a common approach to classifying and communicating chemical hazards, including harmonized definitions of hazards, specific criteria for labels, and consistent formats for safety data sheets, Kaelin said in her presentation.

She pointed out the key changes for the industry: "specification" vs. "performance-oriented" approach and "hazard classification" rather than "hazard determination"; more defined labels with new requirements; and a "safety data sheet" (rather than "material safety data sheet") that uses a 16-section standardized format.

Kaelin also discussed the revisions to HCS in her August 2012 JPCL article, "Going Global: OSHA Revises Hazard Communication Standard."

Lead Is Not Dead

Other continuing regulatory topics of interest include lead, Kaelin said.

In January 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduced the "blood level of concern" from 10 to 5 micrograms per deciliter, as evidence now suggests that the health and environmental effects of lead occur at lower levels than previously thought.

The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) limits lead to 0.15 µg/m3. This may not be achievable using current containment and ventilation and also may not be measurable without changes to the industrial painting industry's approach to monitoring, according to Kaelin.

"I don't think owners and contractors are prepared to meet those [lead] levels yet," said Kaelin. "We will have to learn to monitor longer, faster, better, differently."

Abrasives and Other Materials

The revised Hazard Communication Standard requires chemical manufacturers and distributors to provide safety data sheets (SDS) for each chemical, defined by OSHA as "any substance or mixture of substances."

In her presentation, Kaelin said that changes were already being made to the safety data sheets of many abrasives. These include:

  • Coal slag abrasives may now list beryllium, manganese and cadmium;
  • Copper slag-based abrasives may now list lead, cadmium, arsenic and beryllium;
  • Steel and iron-based abrasives may now list lead, cadmium, arsenic, manganese and beryllium; and
  • Crushed glass-based abrasives may now list beryllium.

She said that the changes for labeling will have a "monstrous impact" and that new regulatory data could have the potential to change "nearly every safety data sheet out there."

OSHA has proposed to require labels to be updated within three months of getting new and significant information about the hazards. The use of any abrasive or material containing any detectable amount of lead, cadmium or arsenic may fall under the scope of the applicable OSHA health standards.

"We always worry about lead in the paint, but now we may have to worry about lead in abrasives and other materials identified in the safety data sheets," Kaelin said.

The new criteria, guidance, and definitions in the HCS and its appendices will require chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate and classify each of their chemicals based on 16 physical hazards, 10 health hazards, and one environmental hazard.

About Alison Kaelin

With over 25 years of quality assurance, public health, environmental, transportation, and construction management experience, Kaelin recently started her own quality consulting company, ABKaelin.

She previously worked at KTA-Tator Inc. for many years as Quality Assurance Manager and Environmental Health and Safety Manager.

Kaelin, who recently started her own quality consulting business, took home a JPCL Editors' Award at SSPC 2013.

At SSPC 2013, Kaelin received a JPCL Editors' Award for her paper, "Enforcing Regulations in Steel Fabrication and Coatings Shops," which addresses some of the health and safety regulations that apply to steel fabrication, coating shops, and galvanizing operations.

In 2012, she was honored as a JPCL Top Thinker, a designation reserved for visionaries who have contributed greatly to the protective and marine coatings industry over the last decade. 


Tagged categories: Abrasives; Beryllium; Coal slag; Hazard Communication Standard (HCS); Health and safety; Lead; Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS); OSHA; Regulations; SSPC 2013

Comment from Dag Rune Wiksten, (1/21/2013, 4:12 AM)

When it comes to safe removal of coatings with contents of lead, asbestos and other toxic paints look to the novel induction based paint removal technolgies. This technolgy allows to lift off the entire coating by breaking the bonding to the steel substrate, completely free from dust, no abrasives involved.

Comment from paul mellon, (1/21/2013, 2:15 PM)

The information regarding the listing of beryllium on abrasives has been miss portrayed in the presentation by Ms. Kaelin in regards to crushed glass. OSHA did in fact send specific letters to coal and copper slag companies requesting they list beryllium and almost every company has complied. These companies were essentially directed to put beryllium on the MSDS and soon the labels. In terms of crushed glass, OSHA has not asked any abrasive company to list beryllium because it not found in unsafe levels like coal and copper slag. There fore if a crushed glass abrasive does list beryllium it can only be because the company selling that glass is allowing it to be contaminated by beryllium from an outside source. For instance, if they are mixing or bagging it at a coal slag or copper slag plant it could be contaminated. Therefore it would be wise to insure that an employer take special precaution on looking at the MSDS of the glass abrasive they decide to purchase

Comment from Alison Kaelin, (1/25/2013, 3:21 PM)

Dear Paul – As I indicated during the presentation, the conclusions presented regarding any abrasive were based on my review of safety data sheets (SDS) for a cross-section of abrasives types and manufacturers. My conclusions stated that these material "may" be found on SDS sheets and suggested that all SDSs should be reviewed as the transition to the new Hazardous Communication Standard requirements are implemented and SDSs are updated and issued. Hope that clarifies the issue. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss further. abk

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