Happy New Year! We are inundated with emails and social media postings about how to make a better you in the new year. Some people embrace this idea, others ignore it. Whichever category you fall into is OK. You have to do what’s right for you, and nobody can tell you what that is but you.
That’s not the same with government chemical regulations. The government can and does tell you what to do, and it’s not wise to ignore it. In the U.S., the major chemical regulations are for Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Hazard Communications (HazCom), and transportation. There are several others in addition, such as food contact, Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), conflict minerals, and various state right-to-know laws.
Will a Biden presidency mean more enforcement of these chemical regulations? Only time will tell, but the consensus is that his administration, as compared to the Trump administration, is more likely to:
- Increase Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors
- Give more attention to the Clean Water Act, with more enforcement
- Have a stricter approach to TSCA
What does all of this mean for your company? You should have an organized approach to managing chemical regulations. Start with the basics: know your compositions of all raw materials and products manufactured. You should also review the compositions of any substances released during manufacturing, whether into the air or as waste by-products. With that basic knowledge in hand, you can readily take steps to determine whether or not you are in compliance.
Realize also that there can be severe penalties for violations. For TSCA violations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can seek criminal penalties, including imprisonment, for willful violations. Fines can be up to $50,000 for each day the violation continues. The philosophy that it’s “better to ask forgiveness than permission” does not apply with the EPA! For OSHA, issues with HazCom standards are usually on OSHA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Cited Violations. The top HazCom violation is for implementation, and often centers around proper labeling of secondary containers. Another top violation is with maintaining good Safety Data Sheets (SDS). OSHA’s maximum penalties are now $13,653 per violation, and the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations is $136,532 per violation.
If you need help navigating the regulatory landscape end ensuring your regulatory compliance, contact us at Strategic Realm Consulting. We will work with you to develop cost-effective and risk-based approaches. Then we will teach you how to maintain your processes. Contact us for more information.