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Malaysia Implementing GHS for Industrial Chemicals in Workplace

Malaysia’s long expected national GHS reference document, the Occupational Safety and Health (Classification, Labelling and Safety Data Sheet of Hazardous Chemicals) Regulations 2013 (also known as the Class Regulation), was finally released on the 11th of Oct in the Federal Government Gazette.

The Class Regulation was developed with reference to the 3rd revised edition of UNGHS and governs industrial chemicals for used in workplace. The manufacturers, importers and suppliers are obligated to comply with the regulation for classification, packaging, labelling and safety data sheet (SDS) formulation.

Certain chemicals are exempt from the requirements of the regulation, including:

  1. Radioactive materials

  2. Scheduled waste

  3. Cosmetics and drugs

  4. Chemicals for the use of scientific research and development

  5. Manufactured items not in the form of fluid or particle

In addition, pesticides and chemicals in transit are only subject to mandatory SDS requirements.

According to the Class Regulation, classification of a particular chemical should be based on the list of classified chemicals specified in the Industry Code of Practice on Chemical Classification and Hazard communication or the information provided by the code if the concerned chemical fall outside the list. Labelling and SDS should be prepared in both the Malaysia’s national language (Bahasa Malaysia) and English.

Latest infomation from the DOSH offcial clarifies that further notice regarding the transition period will be announced later and in the meantime soft implementation of the Class Regulation will be conducted. Also, it is noted that the previous proposed transaction periods (ie 1 year for pure substance and 3 year for mixtures) are likely to be revised.

The Class Regulation was formulated by the Department of Occupation, Safety and Health (DOSH) as the replacement of the Occupational Safety and Health (Classification, Packaging and Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals) Regulations 1997 (also known as the CPL Regulation), in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.

The Class Regulation retains similar requirements on labelling, packaging and SDS as stipulated in the redundant CPL Regulation. Two new parts absent from the CPL Regulation were added:

  1. Importers or manufacturers are required to annually submit an inventory of hazardous chemical imported or supplied in a quantity of one or more metric tonnes a year;

  2. Confidential business information is protected under the Class Regulation where the name, composition and ingredients of the hazardous chemical can be concealed by generic name or allowable concentration range of the ingredients.

Malaysia has been actively engaged in the three-year GHS implementation assistant project conducted by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2010. GHS progress was somewhat hindered by overlapping of power among the Ministry of Human Resource and the Ministry of Environment. The problem was resolved by the Department of Environment (DOE)’s decision to keep the notification and registration of the Environmentally Hazardous Substances Regulations 201X voluntary, leaving the DOSH to be the only competent authority involved in GHS implementation.

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