On December 10, 2014, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or the “Agency”) signed a final rule revising the definition of “solid waste” for purposes of the federal hazardous waste regulatory program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). This definition is a key element of the RCRA regulations, inasmuch as only solid wastes can be subjected to regulation as hazardous wastes.
EPA originally proposed this latest round of changes in 2011, in response to a court challenge that alleged that the last major set of changes, in 2008, inappropriately excluded certain recyclable materials from RCRA regulation, thereby posing risks to the environment and human health, with disproportionate impacts on minority and low-income populations. The new final rule (“2014 DSW Rule”) significantly cuts back on the 2008 DSW Rule, and also imposes new requirements on recyclable materials that were excluded or exempted from regulation under the pre-2008 RCRA rules. The 2014 DSW Rule also amends the Agency’s “legitimacy criteria” for determining when recycling is legitimate, rather than a sham, and establishes one new regulatory exclusion for certain solvent recycling operations, referred to as “remanufacturing.”
The formal effective date for the rule is 180 days after publication in the Federal Register (expected in early January 2015), however, in virtually all States, the rule will not be effective unless and until adopted by the State. SGIA will keep the industry updated on developments.
The Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration has indicated that it will not delay the Hazard Communication Standard's June 2015 deadline for mixtures as it relates to the new warning label and Safety Data Sheet requirements. A coaltion of nine industry groups had sent a letter to OSHA requesting that the Agency push back the deadline by two years arguing that the deadline is unworkable since companies shipping chemicals may not get the information they need from their raw material suppliers in time to upate their labels and safety data sheets.
OSHA informed the groups that those shipping materials don't need to be in compliance with the new requirements by June 2015 if companies can demonstrate that they tried to get the necessary information. The Agency is in the process of developing a written enforcement policy that provides specific guidance on this issue. The directive, under development, is chiefly for inspectors and other enforcement officials, however, it will also provide guidance for employers on what constitutes compliance with the new standard.
A province wide safety blitz on potential hazards of industrial machinery will take place November 3 to December 14th in Ontario, Canada. Inspectors will focus on machinery that isn't properly guarded, locked out or blocked and will also ensure that workplaces have strong internal responsibility systems for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. They will be looking to make sure that employers are acting to prevent awkward postures and repetitive motions that could lead to musculoskeletal disorders and protected from exposure to chemicals. The blitz will target 10 industrial sectors, including printing.
Health Canada has released its proposal that would repeal and replace the Controlled Products Regulations, and make consequential amendments to related regulations, to implement the GHS in Canada.
The implementation of the GHS through their proposed regulatory amendments is intended to achieve the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council commitment to align and synchronize implementation of common classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals within the mandate of Health Canada and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
It is expected that Health Canada will set a June 2015 implementation date to align with the implementation timetable for OSHA's HCS 2012 regulations.
According to a White House fact sheet, companies must disclose labor law violations from the previous three years before they can win a federal contract. The order applies to contracts valued more than $500,000. The order is an attempt to reward contractors that have clean records by allowing them to check a singe box on the bid form indicating that they have no violations.