In March 2012, OSHA published its Final Rule for hazard communications (HazCom) in line with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). For companies that produce asphalt pavement mix, there are two main compliance obligations:
- Train employees on the new labeling system by December 1, 2013, and
- Update each company's manufactured product's Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly referred to as MSDS, by June 1, 2015.
OSHA has published a fact sheet and other materials to aid in complying with the GHS HazCom standard.
To help companies meet their training obligations, NAPA offers an easy-to-use tool for employee training: https://store.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?productID=785.
Similarly, to assist companies with their obligation to update product-specific SDSs, NAPA has worked with several consultants to understand typical asphalt pavement mix hazards that would be classified under the GHS. The GHS would require producers of asphalt pavement mixtures to "determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import."
Ingredients in asphalt pavement mix can range from aggregate and petroleum asphalt binder to RAP, RAS, anti-stripping agents, polymers, rubber, and other materials. Some of these raw materials carry various classification labels, e.g., identifying the hazard of crystalline silica exposure from aggregate dust. However, because of the unique characteristics of asphalt pavement mix, many of the potentially classifiable hazards from individual raw material ingredients may be minimized once the material is combined into its final product, asphalt pavement mix.
The GHS requires an SDS (and accompanying label) to identify the product's hazard as sold or used.
NAPA has worked with and asked an SDS authoring consultant Experien Health Sciences to identify appropriate hazard-warning language for asphalt pavement mix SDSs and labels based on product formulation information common within the industry. Based on their assessment, it appears likely that typical asphalt pavement mix would not be classified as hazardous under the GHS and would only require minimal, realistic warnings, e.g., may cause burns, may cause respiratory irritation, etc.
Last month, OSHA released its Enforcement Guidance to regional inspectors to assess whether manufacturers are compliant with the GHS HazCom program.
NAPA advises that each mix producer determine the appropriate warning language to be included on a company product SDS and label, and we recommend mix producers contact an SDS authoring vendor, like Experien Health Sciences, to have their specific products reviewed under the GHS. If your company has a relationship with another SDS authoring vendor, NAPA is willing to work with that vendor to ensure an accurate and valid product statement is produced. The cost and time commitment to develop an SDS for typical asphalt pavement mix is negligible. An SDS developed by an SDS authoring vendor will be accepted as a credible statement about product hazard.
For questions or to get NAPA in touch with your company's SDS authoring vendor, please contact NAPA Vice President for Environment, Health & Safety Dr. Howard Marks.