Tile installers, distributor warehouse staff and others who handle tile installation materials will soon notice new hazard and safety labels on buckets and bags. This change reflects the decision by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to revise the U.S. Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), commonly known as “HazCom,” to be consistent with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS is a chemical labeling system developed over the course of more than a decade by a United Nations (UN) committee of international experts in diverse fields, including chemicals, worker safety and regulatory affairs. In the context of GHS, the word “chemical” refers broadly to all types of substances, products and mixtures, including tile installation materials such as mortars, grouts, sealers, mastics and any other chemical-containing products.
Resulting from this action by OSHA, tile installation materials manufacturers must now label their chemical-containing products — those for use in the U.S. — according to new HazCom labeling requirements derived from the GHS, or according to the labeling requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Products sold to consumers, including through Big Box stores and the Internet, as many tile installation materials are, fall under the regulatory standards of the Consumer Product Safety Act, and a CPSC-compliant label must be used. Conversely, products that are not sold at all to consumers must incorporate the new GHS-based HazCom chemical warning labels on their packaging.