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Africa Middle East Asia-Pacific

International

2017 Amendments to ADR published: companies consigning dangerous goods for transportation by road may have to modify their consignments
Companies consigning dangerous goods for transport by road in countries that implement the most recent version of the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) may have to alter packaging and labeling based on amended and new requirements in the 2017 version of the ADR (ADR 2017). ADR 2017 is set to take effect on 1 January 2017, with a transitional provision allowing ADR 2015 to be applied until 30 June 2017. Changes include new UN numbers in the Dangerous Goods List and special provisions for polymerizing substances, and the introduction of new markings and danger labels for lithium batteries, among other things.

 

North America

 

UNITED STATES

MULTIPLE STATES
More stringent crystalline silica exposure standards
States are in the process of adopting more stringent OSHA standards for workplaces where employees are exposed to crystalline silica. For example, recently Michigan and Vermont have both proposed to incorporate the more stringent federal U.S. OSHA regulations.

FEDERAL
Modified list of ozone-depleting substances
Effective 3 January 2017, companies that manufacture or operate various end-uses in the refrigeration and air conditioning, foam blowing, and fire suppression and explosion protection sectors must comply with a modified list of alternatives to ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a revision to its list of acceptable and unacceptable alternatives to ODS under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. The EPA expanded the SNAP list to add substances that the EPA considers acceptable substitutes to ODS, subject to conditions; list several substances as unacceptable alternatives to ODS; narrow the use limits for certain substances that are already listed as acceptable; and change others from acceptable to unacceptable substitutes to ODS.

Streamlined greenhouse gases requirements
Beginning 1 January 2017, companies that directly emit greenhouse gases (GHG) and certain suppliers must comply with more streamlined, but also expanded, monitoring and reporting requirements, under amendments adopted by the EPA that revise its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule Program (40 CFR Part 98) (GHGRP). Under the amendments, reporting requirements better reflect industry processes and emissions, improve data quality, and are more simplified and streamlined. The EPA also established confidentiality determinations for certain data elements reported.

Revised greenhouse gases permitting requirements
Owners and operators of new and modified major stationary sources of air pollutants would be required to comply with revised GHG-related permitting requirements under the proposed amendments. The EPA proposed changes to the federal Clean Air Act's (CAA's) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting regulations applicable to GHGs in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. EPA, which partially invalidated EPA's Tailoring Rule. If adopted, the proposed amendments would significantly impact current GHG-related requirements applicable to PSD permitting, Plantwide Applicability Limitations (PALs), and Significant Emissions Rates (SERs). MR 64643

Changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Effective 30 May 2017, generators of hazardous waste must comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) major regulatory reform package under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA's changes strengthen, relax, and clarify the entire spectrum of hazardous waste generator requirements across 40 CFR Parts 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 268, 270, 273, and 279. MR 60742

NEW YORK
New vehicle emission standards
As of 19 October 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) incorporated California's most recent low emission and zero emission vehicle program standards. While this adoption mainly impacts vehicle manufacturers, it is nonetheless part of a greater trend by U.S. states to more strictly regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

WASHINGTON
No taxes for carbon emissions
Companies generating carbon emissions in Washington will not have to pay a tax on these emissions as a result of a ballot initiative that was rejected by voters in Washington State. Ballot Initiative 732 would have imposed a tax on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by fossil fuels such as petroleum, gas, and coal. The tax would have started at $15 USD per metric ton in 2017, increased to $25 USD in 2018, and gradually increased over a few decades until emitters would have paid $100 USD a ton in 2016.

CANADA

FEDERAL
Enhanced requirements under proposed Environmental Emergency Regulations
Companies owning, storing, or managing hazardous substances would be subject to enhanced requirements related to emergency planning, reporting and public notification requirements under the proposed Environmental Emergency Regulations, 2016, that would repeal and replace the existing Regulations. In addition, the proposed Regulations would add 49 substances to the list of hazardous substances including antimony oxide (CAS 1309-64-4), calcium hydroxide, solution (CAS 1305-62-0) and perchloric acid (CAS 7601-90-3).

Hydrofluorocarbons: related developments
The Canadian Department of the Environment and Department of Health proposed amendments that would introduce a gradual phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) imports and would introduce product specific controls that would prohibit the import and manufacture of products and equipment that contain or are designed to contain any HFC, or any blend that contains an HFC, with a global warming potential greater than a designated limit. This development would impact companies importing HFCs in bulk into Canada, or manufacturing products containing HFCs such as refrigeration or air conditioning equipment. These companies would be subject to tighter control under the proposed changes to the Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations.

 

Central & Latin America

 

BOLIVIA

Companies causing ecological damage, destruction, or contamination could be subject to criminal sanctions
Upon the adoption of a draft law, currently subject to parliamentary procedure in the Congress of Bolivia (Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional de Bolivia) who deliberately or negligently cause massive damage, destruction, loss or contamination in an ecosystem or specific territory would be subject to criminal sanctions, which would range from 15 to 30 years’ imprisonment. In the case of companies, the legal representative and/or those in the exercise of a management position that cause ecocide deliberately or by negligence do not prevent its occurrence would be held criminally responsible.

Companies generating waste, waste managers and EEE producers must comply with updated requirements
Since 31 October 2016, companies generating waste, waste managers and manufactures of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) have been subjected to updated requirements. Among others, those who generate waste are obligated to classify the waste in the place of its origin and to cover the operational cost of its management. Containers used to classify waste have to be identified with the following colors: green for organic waste, yellow for recyclable waste, and black for non-profitable waste. Waste operators have to register with the regional or local authorities accordingly and submit an annual report concerning compliance information with integrated waste management. Also, they must keep and make available, when requested, by competent authorities, information regarding their operative waste management. In addition, among others, producers of EEE must elaborate Compliance Programs (Programas de Cumplimiento) for the integrated management of their products. Finally, operators exporting hazardous waste will need a certificate issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua).

MEXICO

Specific responsibilities for employers to identify and prevent psychosocial risk factors at the workplace proposed
Employers would have to define and implement in the workplace a policy of prevention of psychosocial risks (política de prevención de riesgos psicosociales). This follows from Draft Official Mexican Standard PROY-NOM-035-STPS-2016, which specifies the actions to be taken by employers depending on the number of employees at the workplace. Employers would have to carry out specific actions for complying with the existing requirements concerning psychosocial risk factors, a favorable organizational environment (entorno organizacional favorable), and the prevention of occupational violence (violencia laboral) established in the Federal Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. Draft Standard PROY-NOM-035-STPS-2016 also provides guidance to identify the psychosocial risk factors and to evaluate the organizational environment. Draft standard PROY-NOM-035-STPS-2016 is currently under public consultation, and companies can submit their comments on it until 25 December 2016. The company would have to refer to Draft Official Mexican Standard PROY-NOM-035-STPS-2016 in order to comply with the obligations concerning psychosocial risk factors, a favorable organizational environment (entorno organizacional favorable), and the prevention of occupational violence (violencia laboral) established in the Federal Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. For instance, the company would have to implement at the workplace a policy of prevention of psychosocial risks (política de prevención de riesgos psicosociales). Moreover, if the workplace has more than 50 employees, it would be necessary to identify the psychosocial risk factors and to evaluate the organizational environment. On the other hand, if the workplace has up to 50 employees, it would be necessary to identify only the psychosocial risk factors. Draft PROY-NOM-035-STPS-2016 provides reference guidance which can be used for this purpose. Draft PROY-NOM-035-STPS-2016 also contains the aspects to consider when identifying the risk factors and when evaluating the organizational environment. Among the aspects to consider are working conditions, workload, interference in the work-family relationship, employees' sense of belonging, and appropriate training for employees. Additionally, the company would have to implement at the workplace (independently of the number of employees) the measures to prevent and control psychosocial risk factors, to promote a favorable organizational environment, and to prevent work violence, including:

  • having safe and confidential mechanisms to receive complaints against practices contrary to the favorable organizational environment and to denounce acts of work violence; and 
  • carrying out actions to promote the employees' sense of belonging to the company, to define the responsibilities of employees in the company; to provide the appropriate training for carrying out the activities assigned, to promote the proactive participation of employees, and to distribute the workload, among others.

Reviewed standard on maximum limits of lead and cadmium release now includes glass containers designed for food and drinks
Beginning on 24 December 2016, manufacturers, importers and distributors of glass articles designed for containing and processing food and drinks must comply with the maximum permissible limits for cadmium and lead release for such products. This follows from NOM-231-SSA1-2016 Glazed-pottery, ceramic, porcelain, and glass articles, limits for lead and cadmium release, which reviews and updates the previous standard NOM-231-SSA1-2002. NOM-231-SSA1-2016 introduces the maximum permissible limits for lead and cadmium release in glass articles in addition to the limits in glazed-pottery, ceramic, and porcelain articles, which were already specified in the previous NOM.

 

Europe

 

EUROPEAN UNION

Manufacture, use and marketing of PFOA, its salts, PFOA-related substances and articles containing them to be restricted at EU level
In the future, the manufacture, marketing and use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (CAS 1163-19-5), its salts and PFOA-related substances, is expected to be restricted under the REACH Regulation. The restriction would apply to the manufacture and marketing of PFOA as a substance on its own as well as a constituent of another substance or mixture, and to articles or their parts containing PFOA and/or its salts in a concentration greater than 25 parts per billion (ppb). Exemptions would apply to, among others, implantable medical devices and photographic coatings. These restrictions would apply three years after the entry into force of a draft Regulation amending Annex XVII to the REACH Regulation.

Nine further substances can be subject to authorization requirements
Companies manufacturing, placing on the market or using any of the nine substances included in the ECHA’s seventh recommendation to include SVHC into Annex XIV to the REACH Regulation (Authorization List) would have to obtain an authorization from the European Commission to carry on with these activities, if these nine substances are eventually added to the Authorization List. Without such an authorization, companies would have to halt their manufacture, marketing and use by the applicable sunset date. These nine substances include, among others, dihexyl phthalate (CAS 84-75-3), lead monoxide (CAS 1317-36-8), sodium peroxometaborate (CAS 7632-04-4) and pentalead tetraoxide sulfate (CAS 12065-90-6). Depending on the substance, ECHA proposes that companies would have to apply for an authorization 18, 21, 24 or 27 months after their inclusion in the Authorization List.

MALTA

Reference methods, data validation and location of sampling points for the assessment of ambient air quality
The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) must use revised reference methods, data validation and location of sampling points for the assessment of ambient air quality, approved by the Ambient Air Quality (Amendment) Regulations, 2016 (L.N. 415 of 2016). The Regulations transpose Directive EU/2015/1480 amending several annexes to Directives 2004/107/EC and 2008/50/EC laying down the rules concerning reference methods, data validation and location of sampling points for the assessment of ambient air quality without establishing further requirements than those set therein. As before, the ERA and other public authorities can adopt measures to reduce emission of air pollutants, to ensure compliance with the set air quality standards.

Large public-interest companies with more than 500 employees subject to mandatory CSR reporting
Since 1 January 2017, public-interest companies that, during a given financial year, exceed on their balance-sheet an average of 500 employees and have a balance sheet total of more than EUR 20,000,000 or a net turnover of more than EUR 40,000,000 must disclose further information on non-financial matters such as environmental information, data on social and employee-policies, compliance with human rights, and anti-corruption and anti-bribery actions in their annual director’s report. The Companies Act and other Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act LIV of 2016) transposes Directive 2014/95/EU into Maltese law.

Further exemptions for the restriction of heavy metals in medical devices and EEE adopted
As of 6 November 2017, manufacturers of certain types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) can benefit from exemptions from restrictions on the use of lead, cadmium and PBDE. The exemptions apply to spare parts recovered from and used for the repair or refurbishment of medical devices or electron microscopes, the use of lead in solders and termination coatings of electrical connections used durably or periodically at negative temperatures and to the use of cadmium anodes in Hersch cells for oxygen sensors used in industrial monitoring and control instruments, where sensitivity below 10 ppm is required. This follows from the Restriction of Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Amendment) Regulations, 2016 (L.N. 391 of 2016).

PORTUGAL

Waste to be traced by Electronic consignment notes (e-GAR) proposed
In the future, waste generators would have to issue an electronic waste consignment note (guia electronica de acompanhamento de resíduos – e-GAR) prior to shipping or transporting waste. Within 30 calendar after the shipment, waste generators would have to ensure the receiving facility completed the e-GAR, with information on the waste storage, treatment, recycling or disposal. The e-GAR would replace the existing paper based waste consignment notes. The Ordinance establishing the e-GAR is expected to be adopted in the coming months.

BELGIUM

BRUSSELS

Content for the energy audit of large companies and of high-energy consumption facilities subject to an environmental permit adopted.
On 28 December 2016, operators of large companies and operators of high-energy consumption facilities subject to an environmental permit operating in the Brussels region were provided with harmonized information on the content and on the conditions to carry out the compulsory energy audit. Large companies employ more than 250 employees, or have a yearly turnover above EUR 50 million, or a balance sheet total above EUR 43 million. High-energy consumption facilities are installations subject to a Class I.A or I.B environmental permit issued after 30 July 2012 (activities, the manufacturing of paper with a capacity over 200 tons per day, and activities of manufacturing, assembling and repairing electric accumulators, for example). The energy audit must contain, among other things, the technical description of the facility and the details of its energy consumption, potential measures of improvement and a corresponding action plan.

IRELAND

Environmental Protection Agency launches website for radon information
Employers whose employees are at risk to being exposed to radon in the workplace can use the new radon.ie website from the Environmental Protection Agency. The website provides information and advice to employers on how to manage radon levels and protect employees from exposure. It also provides information on the health risks presented by radon, testing for radon, reducing high levels of radon, the financial costs associated with detecting radon, choosing a radon testing company and additional guidance documents about radon in the workplace.

UNITED KINGDOM

Numerous product directives implemented
A number of Regulations have been introduced to implement recent EU Directives concerning products. The Regulations include the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 which implement Directive 2014/30/EU on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to electromagnetic compatibility; the Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 2016 which implement Directive 2014/29/EU on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of simple pressure vessels; the Lifts Regulations 2016 which implement Directive 2014/33/EU on the harmonization of the laws of member states relating to lifts and safety components for lifts; the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 which implement Directive 2014/35/EU on the harmonization of the laws of member states relating to the making available on the market of electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits; the Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 which implement Directive 2014/68/EU on the harmonization of the laws of the member states relating to the making available on the market of pressure equipment; and the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2016 which implement Directive 2014/34/EU on the harmonization of the laws of member states relating to equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The majority of the regulations make no technical changes to previous requirements, although the Lifts Regulations 2016 introduce additional record keeping and labeling requirements.

FRANCE

Initial medical check-up replaced by a less stringent information and prevention meeting.
On 1 January 2017, a less stringent information and prevention meeting replaced the initial medical check-up. This meeting must be carried out in all companies by a health worker for all new employees, at the latest, within three months after starting activity, and every five years afterwards. Before, the medical heck had to be carried out by an occupational physician before starting activity, and afterwards every two years. Employees carrying out works at risk must undergo a comprehensive medical check-up in order to determine their aptitude for the position under the same conditions as the medical check-up applicable before.

RUSSIA

Technical regulation on safety of chemical products adopted
On 7 October 2016 Russia adopted the national technical Regulation (TR) on the safety of chemical products, which will come into force only on 1 July 2021. The long-awaited implementation of REACH within the TR did not happen, on the contrary, Russia consolidated a lot of already existing provisions and requirements. Companies will have to carry out classification and precautionary labeling, as well as compile SDS in accordance with the existing standards (GOSTs). The standards, in their turn, implement the UN's Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labeling of chemicals. The TR, however, makes the classification of chemicals obligatory, while previously the requirement was not clear enough. Companies will also have to comply with a new system of notifying (registering) chemical substances, as well as compulsory conformity assessment of chemical products. Nevertheless, these requirements will be fully operational only when the Government adopts implementing legal acts, identifying regulatory and supervisory body, which will be responsible for conformity assessment, as well as issuing permits and registration.

EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION

Technical regulation on restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in EEE
Starting from 1 March 2018, companies placing on the market of the Eurasian Economic Union (includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia) electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) will have to ensure they comply with the requirements on restricted hazardous substances contained in these products. The EEU adopted a technical regulation on the restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment. Such regulation did not exist before in any of the member states. The TR lists all the EEE which are covered by the act, for example, laptops, printers, web-cameras, telephones and kitchen equipment. These products with the concentration of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers above certain percentage above certain percentage, set out by the TR, are prohibited on the EEU market. The TR also contains specific requirements for EEE containing hazardous substances, as well as requirements for labeling such products.

More chemical substances are subject to import restrictions
As of 1 January 2017 importers of certain chemicals, including dual-use chemicals, chemicals within the scope of the Chemical Weapons Convention, ozone depleting substances (ODS), and certain explosives must comply with the provisions of Import Notification 2017/1. The Notification has replaced Notification 2016/1 updating the requirements. For example, no chemical substance listed in Annex 10 of the Notification is allowed to be imported from any country which is not listed in Annex 12/A of the Notification if a permit is obtained from the Ministry of Economy (DG Import). The countries listed in Annex 12/A includes Azerbaijan, Switzerland and Germany. Annex 10 includes (around 40 substances) e.g. arsenic trichloride and 1,1,3,3,3-Pentafluoro-2-(trifluoromethyl)-1-propene. Dimethyl propylphosphonate (CAS number 18755-43-6) has been added into the Annex. Under the Notification, the import of products containing substances listed in Annex 7 and equipment listed in Annex 8/A or B for working with those substances is banned. Annex 7 includes around 100 ODS such as methyl chloroform, dichlorofluoromethane and R-502. Annex 8/A includes hair sprays, shaving foams, deodorants, sprays, paints, aerosols. Annex 8/B includes compressors used in cooling equipment, certain air conditioning, refrigerators and freezers. No content changes have been made to the equipment/goods listed in Annexes 8/A and B.

 

Africa

 

NIGERIA

Facilities may soon be required to implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the new Climate Change Bill
Facilities whose activities generate greenhouse gas (GHG) or contribute to climate change may soon be required to implement measures aimed at reducing the adverse effects of climate change under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Bill, 2015. The Climate Change Bill, which was introduced to the Senate for its second reading on 3 May 2016 aims to set targets to achieve a reduction in GHG emissions, and promote the use of renewable sources of energy. The Climate Change Bill is a framework law that sets out the Government's roadmap to address the adverse effects of climate change. The Bill does not create any legal requirements for facilities, but could lead to the development of implementing regulations aimed at reducing or limiting GHG emissions or mitigating the effects of these emissions on the environment and health.

GHANA

Uncertified electricians will no longer be allowed to undertake electrical wiring after January 2017
Starting January 2017, electricians will no longer be allowed to operate without a wiring certificate from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) or the Ghana Electrical Contractors Association or other similar body recognized by a licensed electricity distribution utility. In an effort to protect life and property and uphold professional standards, the Energy Commission announced that it will ban all uncertified electricians, and electricians who violate the directive by operating without a wiring certificate face 60 penalty units and up to two years’ imprisonment.

SOUTH AFRICA

Facilities that handle waste will soon have to comply with new requirements under the Draft Amendments to the National Waste Information Regulations
Facilities that handle waste (as waste generators, transporters or treatment facilities) will soon have to comply with stringent registration and reporting requirements under the Draft Amendments to the National Waste Information Regulations, issued on 12 December 2016. Once adopted, the Draft Amendments will require facilities undertaking certain listed activities such as: the transport of waste for gain, the generation or treatment of hazardous waste in excess of 100kg to register such activities with the South African Waste Information System (SAWIS). The Amendments will also restrict access to information on SAWIS to only registered facilities or administrators.

MOROCCO

Additional requirements for building owners, adopted
Companies in Morocco, must comply with additional requirements concerning the permits or authorizations needed to carry out certain building activities. Published on 26 September 2016, Law No. 66-12 of 2016 amends Law No. 12-90 on urban planning, Law No. 25-90 of 17 June 1992 on Land Division, Housing and Parceling and Dahir No. 1.60.063 concerning land developments. Law No. 66-12 of 2016 includes various new requirements such as the acquisition of a building permit for example for any modification that may affect the facade of the building. Facilities are also required to obtain a demolition permit if they intend to carry out demolition activities on a building or parts thereof. Lastly, companies must obtain a recovery permit (رخصة اصلاح) if they intend to carry out modifications for which a building permit was not required under Law No. 12-90 of 17 June 1992, on a building that was built in an area where a building permit is required.

ALGERIA

Facilities should anticipate new regulations on climate change as Algeria ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change
Facilities whose activities generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or contribute to climate change can expect stricter measures aimed at reducing the adverse effects of climate change, as Algeria ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, on 20 October 2016. Under the Agreement, parties agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature below 2 ºC (3.6 ºF) above pre-industrial levels and also to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels. Thus, Algeria's ratification of the Paris Agreement shows the country's commitment to address the adverse effects of climate change, and could lead to the development of implementing legislation. Algeria also submitted its NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) to the UNFCCC on 20 October 2016 and committed to reduce its GHG emissions by seven percent to 22 percent, by 2030. Therefore, Algeria will start introducing policies or regulations intended to reduce GHG emissions in order to implement their NDC commitments. In addition, Algeria committed to reach the goal to have 27 percent of the electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030. Therefore, Algeria will begin to apply more stringent monitoring and enforcement actions on the existing energy regulations and introduce incentives in order to reach the above-mentioned goal.

 

Middle East

 

QATAR

Companies importing, exporting, selling, or producing drugs and drugs precursors must obtain authorization from the Supreme Council of Health
Companies must ensure that they obtain authorization from the Supreme Council of Health before importing, exporting, transporting, selling, or producing drugs or drug precursors, such as N, N-diethyltryptamine and acetorphine. Also, companies must not produce specific hazardous drugs and drug precursors, such as codoxime and amphetamine. Published on 29 November 2015, Decision No. 22 of 2015 adds remifentanil to the list of drugs that companies are prohibited from producing.

IRAQ

Companies must comply with stricter occupational health and safety requirements
From 24 October 2016, companies must comply with more detailed occupational health and safety requirements. These requirements are set out under the new Instructions No. 12 of 2016. Instructions No. 12 of 2016 repeal and replace the occupational health and safety requirements established under Instructions No. 22 of 1987. However, Instructions No. 12 of 2016 do not create a new set of Occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements. Instead, Instructions No. 12 provide more details on some the OHS requirements that were established under the 1987 Instructions, such as the fire prevention and protection requirements. Instructions No. 12 of 2016 also modify other OHS requirements that were existent under the 1987 Instructions, such as the required ceiling height at workplaces. Additionally, the 2016 Instructions set out the obligation for the Committee for Engineering Examination to carry out annual checks on boilers, pressurized gas containers, elevators, and lifting equipment at workplaces.

EGYPT

Companies manufacturing or importing air conditioners to comply with labeling requirements concerning energy efficiency
Starting 28 May 2017, companies manufacturing or importing window air conditioners that do not exceed the capacity of 10.55 kilowatts electrical (KWe) or air conditioning systems that do not exceed the capacity of 19 kilowatts electrical (KWe), must comply with mandatory labeling requirements concerning energy efficiency. Published on 6 December 2016, Decision No. 1098 of 2016 adopts a number of mandatory standards, which include Standard Number 3795 on labeling requirements concerning energy efficiency for air conditioners and Standard Number 1498 on safety requirements for electric storage water heaters. It is worth noting that the Egyptian Standard 3795 is not available for the public. It is however available for purchase from the Egyptian Organization for Standards and Quality (الهيئة المصرية العامة للمواصفات و الجودة).

 

Asia-Pacific

 

INDIA

Facilities may soon be prohibited to manufacture, formulate, use, sell, import and transport 18 identified pesticides
Facilities that manufacture, use, formulate, sell, import or transport 18 identified different types of pesticides including Benomyl and Fenarimol may soon be required to comply with the requirement set under the Banning of Pesticides Order, 2016. On 15 December, 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture, Co-operative and Farmers Welfare issued a Draft Banning of Pesticides Order, 2016. Once adopted, manufacturing, importing, formulating and use of the 18 identified pesticides would be completely prohibited by 2020. For example, the first group of 12 identified pesticides would be prohibited from manufacturing, registration and importing, effective from the date of adoption of the Order and use of these pesticides will be prohibited, effective from 1 January 2018. Once adopted, manufacturers and importers of all 18 identified pesticides also would have to communicate the dangers associated with each pesticide on the product and product leaflet.

JAPAN

Three proposals introduced to amend restrictions on overworking
Facilities must be aware of three varying proposals to revise restrictions on overworking, introduced during the second half of 2016. The three proposals are to amend the Labor Standards Law (LSL: 労働基準法), and possibly the Labor Standards Law (LSL: 労働基準法) and the Industrial Safety and Health Law (ISHL: 労働安全衛生法) and Special Measures Law of Working Hours, etc. Improvement (SML-WHI: 労働時間等の設定の改善に関する特別措置法). They originate from the Cabinet, House of Councilors, and House of Representatives, with differing views on their approach to reducing or improving overworking. Examples of some provisions across the three proposals include, but are not limited to, the introduction of resting/sleeping time for long-hour workers, monitoring of Health Management Hours (健康管理時間: i.e. amount of time that the employee spent at and outside of the workplace working), and some exemptions to the applicability of general working conditions requirement for certain workers (e.g. ≤8hrs/day, ≤40hrs/week, minimum one off day per week). The House of Councilors proposal is the strictest with its penalty provision and lack of exemption for unique workers, while the Cabinet proposal is the most comprehensive, trying to capture non-conventional workers where the amount of hours worked does not reflect the end results. All the three proposals are yet to be reviewed and deliberated by the National Diet, and the final legislation will likely change along the course.

VIETNAM

Vietnam is in the process of adopting the first national existing chemical inventory
Companies manufacturing, importing or using chemicals would be required to evaluate and register their chemicals which are not listed in the national existing chemical inventory once it is adopted by the Vietnam Chemicals Agency (Cục Hóa chất Việt Nam) before putting them into use or circulating them on the Vietnamese market. Companies may submit their comments to the draft to khanhnd@moit.gov.vn until 31 April 2017. The comment form must be filled with CAS Registration Number (CAS RN) Code and the name of the chemicals. Once adopted, the national existing chemical inventory will be updated every six months based on submitted comments. According to the result of the survey on industrial chemicals conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, there are 3023 chemicals indicated in the draft. It includes, for example, formaldehyde (CAS RN 50-00-0), hydrochlorothiazide (CAS RN 58-93-5), 3,7-Bis (N, N-dimethylamino) phenothiazin-5-ium chloride (CAS RN 61-73-4), sodium 2-hydroxypropanoate (CAS RN 72-17-3), and 2,2-[Ethane-1,2-diylbis(oxy)] diethyl dibenzoate (CAS RN120-56-9). If adopted, this will be the first national existing chemical inventory of Vietnam.

CHINA

Operations will be subject to Environmental Protection Taxes instead of Pollutant Discharge Fees starting 1 January 2018
Starting 1 January 2018, facilities, companies and other production operators in China that directly discharge taxable pollutants into the environment will be subject to an Environmental Protection Tax. Pursuant to the newly-adopted Environmental Protection Tax Law, the practice of Environmental Protection Taxes will replace the current practice of Pollutant Discharge Fees starting in 2018. Taxable pollutants under the Law include a broad range of air pollutants, water pollutants, solid wastes, as well as ambient noise with the number of decibels exceeding the national standards. The assessment of the Environmental Protection Tax will be based on the types and amount of taxable pollutants discharged. The Environmental Protection Taxes will usually be assessed monthly and collected quarterly. Compared to the Pollutant Discharge Fees that are currently in effect, implementing Environmental Protection Tax will provide more consistency and transparency in the regulatory regime. While for the same discharging activities the amount of Environmental Protection Taxes can be expected to be roughly the same as the Pollutant Discharge Fees, Environmental Protection Taxes will be enforced in broader areas and with more stringency.

TAIWAN

EEE production facilities are subject to special rules regarding fire safety equipment in their Clean Zones
As of 1 January 2017, Electrical and Electronic Equipment production facilities must comply with a new set of rules regarding the setup of fire safety equipment in their Clean Zones. Clean Zones(潔淨區)are areas in electronic industry facilities where the airborne particle concentration is within Class 1 through Class 9 of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) No. 1464. On 7 November 2016, the Ministry of the Interior issued the Notice on Fire Safety Equipment in Clean Zones (hereafter "Notice"). The Notice applies only to the Clean Zone in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) production facilities. The Ministry of the Interior recognized the special features associated with the Clean Zones and its particular environment and structure, and that general fire safety standards are not entirely applicable to the Clean Zone as a result of these features. In order to promote fire safety in EEE production facilities and at the same time accommodate the delicate equipment and products in the Clean Zone, the Ministry of the Interior adopted the Notice containing various fire safety equipment requirements for different structures within the Clean Zone. The Notice will come into effect on 1 January 2017.

AUSTRALIA

Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) now mandatory
On 31 December 2016, the five-year transition period implemented in relation to the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) ended in all Australian states and territories that have implemented the model Work Health and Safety laws (other than the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)). This means that, since 1 January 2017, compliance with the GHS is mandatory in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. While the ACT, Victoria and Western Australia are yet to implement the GHS, many hazardous chemicals used in these states are manufactured elsewhere and will be labeled in accordance with the GHS. Any hazardous chemicals manufactured in these states for interstate transport will also need to be labeled in compliance with the GHS. Entry into force of the GHS means that companies who manufacture, supply, import or use hazardous chemicals at the workplace must ensure that all chemicals are labeled in compliance with the GHS. Safety data sheets in relation to such chemicals must also be GHS-compliant.

Extended exemption periods for chemicals manufactured or supplied prior to 1 January 2017
Prior to entry into force of the GHS on 1 January 2017, concerns were raised by Safe Work Australia that requiring manufacturers and users of hazardous chemicals to relabel existing chemicals would create an unnecessary burden and increase the risk of correctly labeled chemicals being relabeled with an incorrect GHS label. As a result, a national decision was made so that chemicals manufactured or supplied to a workplace prior to entry into force of the GHS do not need to be relabeled. Specifically, these extended exemptions mean that:

  • Manufacturers and suppliers of hazardous chemicals can continue to label hazardous chemicals manufactured and labeled prior to 1 January 2017 in accordance with the previous system for labeling hazardous chemicals (the National Code of Practice for Labeling Workplace Substances);
  • Companies that use hazardous chemicals in the workplace are not required to relabel chemicals supplied to the workplace prior to 1 January 2017 in accordance with the GHS. Such chemicals must, however, be labeled in accordance with the National Code of Practice to be exempt from this requirement; and  
  • In the Northern Territory, companies that use hazardous chemicals in the workplace can continue to purchase non-GHS labeling compliant products until 30 June 2017. Such companies may also store, handle and use these products in the workplace until they have been entirely used up.

NEW ZEALAND

Progress continues in implementation of New Zealand’s obligations under the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions
New Zealand is continuing to make significant progress in the implementation of its obligations under the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions. The Stockholm Convention is aimed at eliminating and restricting the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in party countries, and the Rotterdam Convention aims to promote shared responsibilities in relation to the export and import of prescribed hazardous chemicals (such as chlordane and ethylene oxide). Both conventions are implemented into NZ legislation through the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 and the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Prohibition Order (No 2) 2004 (the I&E Order).

New bans on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
In implementing its obligations under these Conventions, the following changes have taken place in recent months:

  • On 15 December 2016, four new substances (such as Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and Hexachlorobutadiene) were added to Schedule 2A of the HSNO Act in order to reflect new POPs added to the Stockholm Convention in 2013 and 2015. The same chemicals were also added to Schedule 1 of the I&E Order. Due to these amendments, these POPs are now prohibited for import, manufacture or use in NZ and any company wishing to export these POPs will require a permit granted from the Environmental Protection Authority.
  • On 1 January 2017, the phase-out period implemented in relation to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) ended, meaning that the storage of all PCBs in NZ is now prohibited other than by authorized PCB collectors. This means that PCB storage exemptions will no longer be granted by the EPA and all companies who were storing PCBs under such an exemption (authorizing storage until 31 December 2016) must have had all PCBs removed from their site by an authorized PCB collector.