Korea

How to Comply with Amended Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in Korea

Little Pro on 2019-02-14 Views:  Update:2019-03-10

Chemical companies doing businesses in/with Korea not only need to comply with K-REACH and Chemicals Control Act (CCA), but also need to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in Korea. The last amendment of OSHA was published on 15 Jan 2019 and will come into force on 16 Jan 2020. It sets out new obligations for chemical manufacturers and importers to disclose composition info and submit safety data sheets (SDSs) to the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MoEL). In this article we will give you an overview of amended OSHA and summarize how to comply with it.

Overview of OSHA

OSHA was firstly published in 1990 and has been amended several times. The latest amendment was published on 15 Jan 2019 and comes into force on 16 Jan 2020. Detailed implementation measures are given in the enforcement decree of OSHA published separately by MoEL.

OSHA regulates the use of chemicals in workplace with a goal of protecting workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals. Like K-REACH, OSHA requires that any person who manufactures or imports new substances register the new substances with  MoEL. OSHA also sets out detailed requirements for the preparation, keeping, and submission of safety data sheets (SDSs). In addition, OSHA requires MoEL to set occupational exposure limits for harmful chemical agents and prohibits the manufacture, import, transfer and use of certain hazardous substances. 

New Substance Registration

Article 40 of OSHA requires that manufacturers and importers of new chemical substances investigate the hazard of new chemical substances and submit the investigation report and hazard data to MoEL. Previously companies need to register new chemical substances with both the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and MoEL. Following amended OHSA enforcement decree (MoEL Decree 241) published on 31 Jan 2019, manufacturer or importer of a new substances no longer needs to submit the report to MOEL if the new substance has already been registered with MoE under K-REACH. MoE will pass relevant registration data to the MoEL. However, MoEL will continue issuing registration notice within 14 to 30 days since the receiving the data from the MoE. Companies still need to obtain the registration notice from MoEL for compliance purposes and comply with specified risk management measures. 

Note:

OSHA requires hazard data for the registration of new substances(0.1~1t/y) while the registration of new substances(0.1~1t/y) under K-REACH does not require any hazard data before end 2019. For 0.1-1t/y new substances, companies still need to submit new substance registration to MoEL before end 2019.

SDS Submission and CBI Protection

The 2019 OSHA amendment has created a new obligation for chemical manufacturers and importers (Article 110). They are required to prepare safety data sheets for chemicals meet GHS hazard criteria, disclose full composition info and submit the safety data sheets to the MoEL prior to production or import. The SDS submission requirement will be enforced from 15 Jan 2021.

Companies will have the following 3 options to comply with the new requirement.

  • Option 1: disclose 100% composition info in SDSs (including non-hazardous ingredients and submit the SDSs to MoEL
  • Option 2: only disclose hazardous ingredients in SDSs and submit the SDSs along with a separate document providing the name and content of non-hazardous ingredients to MoEL
  • Option 3 (for imported products only): only disclose hazardous ingredients in SDSs and submit the SDSs along with a statement signed by foreign companies saying that all the non-disclosed ingredients are non-hazardous substances.

Hazardous substances must be fully disclosed in SDSs. If a company wishes to protect trade secret info and hide the real name of a hazardous ingredient, it must apply for prior approval from MoEL. If the application is granted, the company can then use a generic name instead of full name.

Note: Foreign companies can also appoint a Korea-based only representative to fulfill the obligations of Korean importers.

OSHA Prohibited Chemicals

The following chemicals are prohibited from being manufactured, imported, transferred and supplied in Korea by the enforcement decree of OSHA.

  1. Yellow phosphorous match;
  2. Paint containing white lead (excluding any paint in which the volume ratio of such white lead is not more than two percent);
  3. Polychlorinated terphenyl (PCT);
  4. 4-Nitrodiphenyl and its salts;
  5. Actinolite asbestos, anthophyllite asbestos and tremolite asbestos;
  6. β-Naphthylamine and its salts;
  7. Chrysotyle Asbestos, Crocidolite asbestos and amosite asbestos;
  8. Rubber glue containing benzene (excluding any rubber glue in which the volume ratio of such benzene is not more than five percent);
  9. Formulation containing one of those referred to in subparagraphs 3 through 7 (excluding any preparations in which the weight ratio of such substances is not more than one percent);
  10. Prohibited substances referred to in subparagraph 5 of Article 2 of the Chemicals Control Act;
  11. Other materials prescribed by the Minister of Employment and Labor as harmful to human health

Hazardous Chemicals Requiring Permission

The following hazardous chemicals are subject to prior permission for manufacturing or use under the Article 38 of OSHA:

  1. Dichlorobenzidine and its salts;
  2. α-Naphthylamine and its salts;
  3. Zinc chromates;
  4. Ortho-Tolidine and its salts;
  5. Dianisidine and its salts;
  6. Beryllium;
  7. Arsenic and its inorganic compound;
  8. Chromite ore (limited to cases of plastic treatment by adding heat thereto);
  9. Coal tar pitch volatiles;
  10. Nickel sulfide;
  11. Vinyl chloride;
  12. Benzotrichloride;
  13. Deleted;
  14. Formulation containing one of those referred to in subparagraphs 1 through 11 (excluding any formulation to which the weight ratio of such substances contained is not more than one percent);
  15. Formulation containing substances referred to in subparagraph 12 (excluding any formulation to which the weight ratio of such sub- stances is not more than 0.5 percent); 16. Other harmful substances prescribed by the Minister of Employment and Labor.

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References

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 Tags: Topics - KoreaREACH-like Regulation and Registration

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