By Weisin Chai
After a long wait, Malaysia published the Occupational Safety and Health (Classification, Labelling and Safety Data Sheet of Hazardous Chemicals) Regulations 2013 (CLASS) on October 11, 2013 through the federal government gazette. The CLASS regulation, which replaces the Occupational Safety and Health (Classification, Packaging and Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals) Regulations 1997 (CPL), aligns with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
The Malaysian government will soon announce a transition time through a circular. According to the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), the transition period proposed previously, i.e. 1 year for pure substances and 3 years for mixtures, could be revised.
The CLASS regulations apply to manufacturers, suppliers and importers of hazardous chemicals for use in the workplace. The CLASS regulations consist of eight Parts and five Schedules. They include detailed requirements for classification, packaging, labelling, safety data sheets, inventory of hazardous chemicals, and confidential business information in Parts II, III, IV, V, VI and VII, respectively. The First Schedule indicates hazard classifications with their corresponding hazard pictograms, signal words and hazard statements. The Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Schedules provide references of hazard pictograms, combined hazard statements, dimensions of labels and the cut-off concentration values in mixtures, respectively.
There are several categories of chemicals exempted from the regulation. These are chemicals that have been regulated under other existing regulations, such as:
(i) Radioactive materials
(ii) Scheduled waste
(iii) Cosmetics, drugs and their products
(iv) Chemicals used for scientific research and development
(v) Non-liquid or non-particle manufactured items
(vi) Pesticides and chemicals in transit prior to export (exempted from Parts II, III, IV and VI of the regulation)
The classification of hazardous chemicals shall be in accordance to the list of classified chemicals specified in Part 1 of the Industry Code of Practice (ICOP). The DOSH is currently in the process of revising the ICOP before publication. Chemicals not listed in Part 1 of the ICOP shall be classified in reference to Part 2 of the ICOP. The record of classification of hazardous chemicals shall be made as specified in Part 2 of the ICOP.
It’s the duty of manufacturers, suppliers and importers of hazardous chemicals to prepare labels and safety data sheets (SDS). The information required in the label and SDS can be found in regulation 8 and regulation 13, respectively. Small containers with a size of 125 mL and below may prepare a label by replacing hazard statements and pictograms with the statement “read Safety Data Sheet before use”. The labelling dimensions of different packaging sizes can be found in the Fourth Schedule of the CLASS regulation. The SDS shall be prepared in both the Malay and English languages.
The key difference between CPL and CLASS is the duty of preparing a chemicals inventory. Importers or manufacturers of hazardous chemicals of one metric tonne and over per year shall prepare an inventory of chemicals and submit it to the Director General no later than March 31 of the following year after the activity. The inventory must include the following information:
(i) Product identifier
(ii) Chemical names, and the CAS register numbers, if possible
(iii) Composition and ingredients of hazardous chemicals, and the CAS register numbers if possible
(iv) Hazard classification
(v) Total imported/supplied quantity of hazardous chemicals
The name, composition and ingredients of a hazardous chemical can be claimed as confidential business information in the SDS and in the chemicals inventory. A generic name of the chemical(s) or the allowable concentration range of the ingredients shall be used as replacements in this case.
Readers may consult the listed websites for more details regarding the CLASS regulation, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the revoked CPL regulation.
Occupational Safety and Health (Classification, Labelling and Safety Data Sheet of Hazardous Chemicals) Regulations 2013
Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1994
Revoked Occupational Safety and Health (Classification, Packaging and Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals) Regulations 1997