North America Central & Latin America Europe
Africa Asia-Pacific

CANADA

ALBERTA
Companies now subject to stricter Occupational Health and Safety requirements
As of June 1, 2018, all companies operating in Alberta are subject to stricter Occupational Health and Safety provisions on matters such as accident reporting and penalties. This development follows from the adoption of Bill 30: An act to protect the health and well-being of working Albertans and introduces changes such as mandating joint work site health and safety committees for workplaces with 20 or more employees or requiring employers with between five and 19 workers to have a health and safety representative in the workplace.

MANITOBA
New requirements banning requiring workers to wear unsafe footwear adopted
Effective June 4, 2018, employers in Manitoba are prohibited from requiring workers to wear footwear that is not of a design, construction and material appropriate to the protection required for the worker's work. Additionally, the employer is prohibited from requiring workers to wear footwear that does not allow the worker to safely perform their work.

ONTARIO
Proposed amendments to Industrial Establishments regulation primarily focused on working at heights
Companies would have to comply with revised and new requirements applicable to risk assessments, working at heights, on-site traffic management, storage racks, high visibility apparel for signalers, and other various topics. The Ontario Ministry of Labour (Ministry) proposed various amendments to the Industrial Establishments regulation, Regulation 851. The majority of the proposed revisions and proposed new requirements relate to working at heights. For example, an employer would need to ensure that a scaffold platform or another work platform that is 2.4 meters or taller, is equipped with an adequate guardrail system that would consist of a top rail, intermediate rail and toe board. Additionally, employers of industrial establishments with more than 20 workers would have to assess and manage the risk of hazards that could arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work, or the conditions of work.

QUEBEC
Stricter rules and updated standards related to working at heights proposed
In the near future, companies employing workers operating at height would be subject to stricter safety rules and updated standards for fall-protection-related equipment and devices. This would follow the adoption of regulation to amend the regulation respecting occupational health and safety, whose draft was published on April 18, 2018 by the Occupational Standards, Equity, Health and Safety Committee. The modification would not substantially change the main structure of the existing legislation, but would only introduce certain parts such as, among others, general measures for preventing falls, detailed requirements regarding pit areas or anchorage systems. Moreover, companies are allowed until June 2, 2018 to submit their comments and objections on this draft to the Commission: afterwards, the draft regulation should be transmitted to the Government for final approval, with possible amendments which may take into account the remarks.

UNITED STATES

FEDERAL
EPA establishes five principles to review SIPs and implement the NAAQS program in a timely manner
Companies that emit air pollutants or are subject to a permit under the Clean Air Act (CAA) should note that the former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Scott Pruitt, issued a memorandum setting forth the process for reviewing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). This memorandum is in response to the Trump Administration's April 12, 2018 memorandum directing the EPA Administrator to take specific actions to ensure efficient and cost-effective implementation of the NAAQS program. While companies are not directly affected by this memorandum, they may see timelier preconstruction permit decisions and changes to permit requirements if and when NAAQS are revised.

EPA extends comment period for proposed amendments to leather finishing NESHAP regarding emissions during startup, shutdown, and malfunction
Companies that are subject to the Leather Finishing National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), would see clarified requirements related to emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunctions. On March 14, 2018, the EPA proposed amendments to the Leather Finishing NESHAP that would clarify that applicable emissions limits must be followed at all times, even during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction. The proposed amendments would also add an electronic reporting requirement for test records, and would add new elements to the information required for Deviation Notification Reports. EPA did not propose to amend the numerical emission limits of the NESHAP.

EPA proposal would set TSCA user fees
Companies required to make submissions under sections four, five, and six of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) may be impacted by substantial changes to the imposition of fees if a rule proposed by the EPA is adopted. The proposed rule would greatly expand the activities subject to fees. Currently, submissions under section five, include premanufacture notifications (PMNs), certain PMN exemption applications and notices, and Significant New Use Notices (SNUNs). The proposed rule would newly address fees for companies required to submit information by test rule, test order or enforceable consent agreement or companies that manufacture or process a chemical substance that is subject to a risk evaluation, including a risk evaluation conducted at the request of a manufacturer. The proposal details how EPA calculated its fees, when fees will be collected, and how EPA will handle fees from multiple parties.

EPA seeks comments on whether the CWA covers discharge of pollutants that reach surface waters via a direct hydrologic connection or groundwater
Companies should be aware that they can submit comments to the EPA until May 21, 2018, on whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires permits for pollutant discharges from point sources that reach jurisdictional surface waters via groundwater that has a direct hydrologic connection to the jurisdictional surface water. EPA currently does not require permits for such discharges, but in previous rulemakings and statements has indicated that permits could be required for such discharges. EPA is seeking comments on specific topic including whether subjecting such releases to CWA permitting is consistent with the text, structure, and purposes of the CWA. Based on the comments received, EPA could decide to explicitly regulate such discharges or to exempt them from regulation under the CWA.

CALIFORNIA
Manufacturers of MPL products would have flexibility when complying with the 10 percent by weight VOC limit
Companies that manufacture multi-purpose lubricant (MPL) products would be allowed to use an alternate compliance option to achieve the 10 percent by weight volatile organic compound (VOC) limit for MPL products. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposed amendments to the Consumer Products Regulations and Method 310 to provide manufactuers with the flexibility to meet the VOC limit for MPL products. Additionally, the proposed amendments would extend the compliance date of the 10 percent VOC limit to July 1, 2019. Further, reference methods in Method 310 would be revised to update method dates and include additional reference methods. The Consumer Products Regulations are applicable to all companies that manufacture consumer products for use in California

 

Central & Latin America

 

BRAZIL

Revised requirements for sodium or calcium hypochlorite-based bleaches under consultation
Until May 3, 2018, interested companies can submit their comments on the draft technical regulation for sanitizing products classified as sodium or calcium hypochlorite-based bleaches to the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANVISA). The draft technical regulation would establish technical, labelling and packaging requirements for sodium or calcium hypochlorite-based bleach (alvejante à base de hipoclorito de sódio ou cálcio) manufactured, imported or placed on the market in Brazil. It would apply to bleaches with an active chlorine content between two and six percent weight by weight (w/w)

Regulation establishing the maximum limit of lead for paints implemented
Since March 21, 2018, facilities manufacturing, importing, or placing on the Brazilian market paints for the use in buildings, schools, children's toys, as well as varnish and similar materials, have to ensure that the concentration of lead in these paints is lower than 600 parts per million (ppm) by weight, as adopted by Decree 9.315 of March 20, 2018 implementing Law 11.762 of August 1, 2008. The implementing regulation provides the definitions for the use of the applicable paints. Also, it establishes that facilities have to provide the results of test showing the content of lead in paints and similar materials they manufacture or place on the market to the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO) when requested to do so.

CHILE

Companies to classify and label hazardous substances and mixtures under proposed implementation of GHS in Chile
In the future, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of hazardous substances and mixtures would have to comply with the classification, labelling and packaging of the Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS). This would follow from the draft Regulation of Classification, Labeling and Notification of Chemical Substances and Mixtures which would establish notification, classification, labelling and packaging requirements for hazardous substances and mixtures. Companies would have to classify substances and mixtures according to the GHS criteria, and ensure that those classified as hazardous would display a label with, among others, hazard pictograms and statements and precautionary statements. Hazardous substances and mixtures would have to be provided with a safety data sheet (SDS) written in Spanish. Manufacturers would also have to notify the manufacture of hazardous substances in volumes over one tonne per year and of CMR substances and mixtures, via the Register of Emissions and Transfers of Contaminants (Registro de Emisiones y Transferencias de Contaminantes - RETC). These requirements would enter into force at different stages, starting one year after the draft Regulation entry into force

COSTA RICA

Minimum requirements for lactation rooms established for the first time
Companies employing more than 30 female employees at their workplace must provide them with a lactation room that complies with minimum standards such as a room of at least six square meters (m2), a refrigerator with a capacity of at least 38 liters that would be only used to keep breast milk, a sink with a liquid soap dispenser, two chairs and a table. This follows from the adoption of Decree 41080 MTSS-S on the requirements for lactation rooms.

MEXICO

PUEBLA
Definition and examples of workplace violence against women extended
As of April 14, 2018, companies must take into account the new definition and examples of what constitute workplace violence against women, such as obstruction of professional training or promotions, diminishing working conditions or assigning them disproportionately and unjustifiably in comparison with peers. This follows the adoption of a decree modifying the law of access of women to a life free of violence in the State of Puebla. Sexual harassment and preventing women from having their lactating breaks were already mentioned in the law as examples of workplace violence.

PERU

Annual Environmental Appraisal and Control Plan 2018 adopted
As of March 18, 2018, operators can consult information on assessment and control activities to be carried out by the National Water Authority (Autoridad Nacional del Agua - ANA) in its Annual Plan on Environmental Appraisal and Control Activities (Plan de Evaluación y Fiscalización Ambiental – PLANEFA) for 2018. The plan includes a list of companies to be controlled in 2018. The PLANEFA for 2018 does not establish direct requirements on operators.

 

Europe

 

EUROPEAN UNION

Revised requirements for the qualification and training of drivers
As of May 22, 2018, companies employing drivers of road vehicles for the transport of goods or persons must comply with stricter requirements on the qualification and periodic training of their drivers. This follows from Directive EU/2018/645 amending Directive EU/2003/59 and Directive EU/2006/126 on driving licenses. Directive EU/2018/645 clarifies the scope of application of Directive EU/2003/59, introduces more detailed content of the training to improve drivers’ safety and lay down standards on professional skills of drivers to ensure that qualifications are mutually recognized among the EU countries. Directive EU/2018/645 also clarifies the minimum age requirements for drivers.

European Court rules that companies cannot allow drivers to spend their weekly rest periods in their vehicles
In the future, companies that employ full-time drivers can no longer allow their employees to spend their weekly rest periods in their vehicles. This follows from the European Court of Justice's ruling in case C-102/16 of December 20, 2017. The court held that weekly rest periods can no longer be spent in vehicles and that national governments are entitled to penalize drivers who contravene that prohibition. This means that drivers cannot take their full 45-hour weekly rest periods in their vehicles.

The use of lead as an alloying element in EEE continues to be allowed
Manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) can continue to use lead as an alloying element in certain EEE applications until May 18, 2021, July 21, 2021, July 21, 2023 or July 21, 2024 (depending on the EEE category). This follows from the publication of three commission delegated directives amending the RoHS 2 Directive 2011/65/EU to extend the exemption to the prohibition on the use lead as an alloying element in EEE applications such as lighting equipment and electrical and electronic tools. The existing exemptions are extended as lead-free alternatives currently require adaptations in the machining process.

Consultation of the RoHS project Pack 15 to review the list of restricted substances and assess an additional exemption request under RoHS 2, launched
Since April 20, 2018, manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and other interested companies have been able to submit their comments for the consultation that got launched as part of the RoHS project (Pack 15). The Öko-Institut together with Fraunhofer IZM are seeking to collect information on seven substances that are currently being assessed under the RoHS project (Pack 15) such as Beryllium and its compounds. Information collected during the consultation will be referred to the Commission with a recommendation on the possible restrictions of substances with regards to the revision of the list of restricted substances and the assessment of a new exemption request under Directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS 2).

FRANCE

Preventive measures issued to prevent risks in logistical warehouses with two or three storing levels
Operators of logistical warehouses are, for the first time, provided with recommendations for storage in their warehouses by the French Health Insurance (Ameli). The French Health Insurance regularly issues recommendations on Health & Safety which define and gather good practices for the prevention of occupational risks. Recommendation R. 498 prescribes preventive measures aiming at reducing the risks workers are exposed to when working in logistical warehouses with two or three storing levels. These preventive measures include a logistic reorganization, an arrangement of pallet storage on the floor and the use of storage furnishing. The preventive measures will have to be implemented in warehouses by January 1, 2019

GERMANY

MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
More detailed fire safety requirements for the construction of assembly rooms adopted
From January 3, 2018, companies constructing or operating assembly rooms, such as conference rooms for more than 200 people, will have to ensure more detailed requirements for fire safety. Very large places of assembly (such as outside stadiums) will have to meet new requirements while smaller assembly rooms (such as conference rooms in administrative buildings) have some clarity on existing requirements. The changes mainly apply to the construction of fire escape routes

GREECE

Companies have until May 31, 2018 before online assignment of Safety Technicians becomes compulsory
Until May 31, 2018, companies can assign duties to their Safety Technician either by submitting the assignment in writing to the Workplace Inspectorate (Σώμα Επιθεώρησης Εργασίας) or by online application on the Workplace Inspectorate's website. Following an amendment, the ability to choose between these two methods arose on April 1, 2018, rather than one month earlier. Safety Technicians, required by law in all companies, advise on health and safety issues in the company and make recommendations on how to plan, construct and maintain safe facilities. Companies must only assign duties to Safety Technicians that are registered in the Electronic Database of Safety Technician Data. After May 31, 2018, only electronic assignment of duties will be possible.

ITALY

Guidelines on the applicability of the "open scope" related to WEEE management published
As of May 2018, manufacturers, importers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) can benefit from an in-depth guidance concerning the extension of the extended producer responsibility requirements (so-called "open scope"), applicable as of August 15, 2018. This guidance aims at providing operators with a useful tool for verifying whether a product falls under such scope or not. The reform was introduced by Legislative Decree n.49 of March 14, 2014, which establishes that as of August 15, 2018 all EEE producers will be involved in the collection and treatment systems for products placed on the market, unless explicitly exempted: following this "open scope", EEE products will be divided into six product categories in order to differentiate recovery and recycling targets.

SPAIN

New Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
The newly-elected president of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has announced that climate change and renewable energies will be two of the main priorities of the new government. In consequence, a new Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change will be created. Before, agriculture, fisheries and environment where managed by a single Ministry.

 

Africa

 

KENYA

Effluent discharge licenses to be limited to one-year term with renewal requirements
Starting January 1, 2019, facilities that discharge effluents into the environment will have to renew their licenses every year. This follows from the Public Notice published by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) which clarifies the validity period for effluent discharge licenses as mandated under Section 17 of the Water Quality Regulation, 2006 (Legal Notice No. 120). Under the Public Notice, all effluent discharge licenses issued by NEMA from the year 2019, will only be valid for the calendar year of issue. As a result, holders of effluent discharge licenses will have to renew their licenses every year.

SOUTH AFRICA

Facilities that generate health care risk waste will soon be required to comply with strict rules for the management of such waste
Facilities that generate, store, treat or transport healthcare risk waste will have to comply with stringent waste management rules once the Draft National Health Care Risk Waste Management Regulations, 2018 is adopted. The Draft Regulations prescribe the requirements for managing healthcare risk waste to ensure that it no longer poses a threat to humans, animals or the environment. The Draft Regulations will be applicable to any activity that results in the generation of health care risk waste including on-site health clinics that generate infectious waste, sharps, pathological waste, or chemical waste.

Mining companies must comply with a stricter guideline for developing the mandatory code of practice for airborne pollutants
Starting April 30, 2018, mining companies must refer to a strict guideline when preparing the mandatory code of practice (COP) for airborne pollutants. The Guideline for the Compilation for a Mandatory Code of Practice for an Occupational Health Programme (Occupational Hygiene and Medical Surveillance) on Personal Exposure to Airborne Pollutant provides the rules for developing a mandatory COP for the mine which when implemented properly, will help employers monitor and reduce employees' exposure to airborne pollutants. Among other things, mining companies must ensure that the mandatory COP on airborne pollutants includes an occupational health program, a risk assessment, a medical surveillance program as well as reporting requirements.

 

Asia-Pacific

 

AUSTRALIA

Officers may soon be subject to extended due diligence obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law
Executive officers of companies that employ heavy vehicle drivers (with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) or aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 4.5 tonnes) may soon be subject to extended due diligence obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). Under current provisions of the HVNL expected to enter into force in mid-2018, executive officers will be subject to a due diligence obligation to ensure that their entity complies with the new primary duty of care under the HVNL (to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of the party's transport activities relating to the vehicle). If the Bill proposing the extension of this duty is adopted, however, this due diligence obligation would be extended to cover all major safety duties under the HVNL (such as ensuring that no person tampers with a driver's electronic work diary) rather than being limited to the primary duty of care.

CHINA

ZHEJIANG
Named companies must carry out clean production audits in prescribed timescale
Companies that are named in the Notice on 2018 List of Companies Subject to Compulsory Clean Production Audit (关于公布2018年浙江省强制性清洁生产审核企业名单的通知) have to publicize information, conduct, and finish clean production audits within the prescribed timescales. The Zhejiang Environmental Protection Bureau in the notice lists the companies having to do clean production audits. The named companies are required to implement the requirements as provided in the national Management Measures on Clean Production Audit (清洁生产审核办法), and are subject to appraisal and acceptance inspections of environmental protection authorities. The list includes companies engaging in production or operations generating water or air pollutants, heavy metal pollutants, or hazardous wastes.

Facilities to implement municipal waste separation requirement from April 1, 2018
Starting on 1 April 2018, facilities generating municipal waste (城镇生活垃圾) (that is, waste generated from daily life or from services for daily life) must separate the waste into prescribed classes for further collection and disposal. The Zhejiang Measures on Municipal Waste Separation Management (浙江省城镇生活垃圾分类管理办法) provide the general obligation on facilities and individuals to reduce and separate municipal waste. The Measures also define the four classes of waste and set forth requirements on providing waste collection receptacles.

GUANGDONG
Companies producing or using hazardous chemicals must make letter of commitment on work safety responsibility
By June 30, 2018, companies producing or using hazardous chemicals must make and publicize the letter of commitment on work safety responsibility (安全生产主体责任承诺书). The Notice on Further Implementing Work Safety Responsibilities of Hazardous Chemical Companies (关于进一步落实危险化学品企业安全生产主体责任的通知) sets forth specific requirements to urge companies producing or using hazardous chemicals to strengthen their work safety management. Apart from reiterating existing national rules, the notice additionally requires hazardous chemical companies to sign letters of commitment, control entry into production areas, communicate hazards and risks to employees, establish safety education rooms and annually update safety management systems and safe operation rules. The notice particularly requires the companies to accomplish certain requirements by the end of June 2018. The notice applies to companies producing or selling hazardous chemicals, or having to apply for the Permit for Using Hazardous Chemicals (危险化学品安全使用许可证).

SHAANXI
Companies must carry out periodic firefighting drills and fire safety inspections
Starting on April 1, 2018, companies must carry out periodic drills on firefighting and evacuation and inspections on fire prevention performance. The Shaanxi Measures on Implementation of Fire Safety Responsibility System (陕西省消防安全责任制实施办法) set forth legal responsibilities regarding fire prevention and control for companies as well as governmental authorities. For example, according to the Measures, companies must establish fire emergency plans and carry out firefighting drills at least once every six months. The Measures repeal the Shaanxi Management Rule on Fire Prevention and Safety Accountability System (陕西省消防安全责任制管理规定).

JAPAN

2,6-diamino-n-1-phenylpropan-2-yl hexanamide and its salts and mixtures are now designated as a stimulant drug precursor
Starting March 23, 2018, companies are required to report to either the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare or the prefectural government upon manufacturing, importing, exporting, selling or researching of 2,6-diamino-n-1-phenylpropan-2-yl hexanamide and its salts and mixtures. 2,6-diamino-n-1-phenylpropan-2-yl hexanamide is a group of chemicals that is a precursor to a stimulant drug marketed as Lisdexamfetamine (CAS No.608137-32-3). The substance was designated as a stimulant drug precursor (覚せい剤原料) under the Stimulant Drug Control Law (覚せい剤取締法).

Short-chain chlorinated paraffins and decabromodiphenyl ether will become subject to a manufacture and import ban and an export approval
Beginning October 1, 2018, companies manufacturing, importing or exporting short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) or decabromodiphenyl ether (DBDE) as listed under the Stockholm Convention, as well as their mixtures and preparations, or certain products containing these substances, are subject to a manufacture or import ban, or an export approval (輸出承認). An export approval is required prior to exporting broad categories of chemicals subject to different international treaties including the Stockholm Convention.

SOUTH KOREA

22 chemicals have been designated as toxic
Companies operating in South Korea that handle any of the 22 chemicals specified in the Public Notice on the Designation of Toxic Chemicals, Restricted Chemicals and Prohibited Chemicals of January 5, 2018, including 2.2-Dibromo-2-nitroethanol (CAS 69094-18-4), Tetrakis (hydroxymethyl) phosphonium sulfate (CAS 55566-30-8) and 2,2,2-Trifluoroethyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate (CAS 352-87-4), should note that the 22 chemicals have been designated as toxic chemicals. Companies that import the newly designated toxic chemicals will have to make an import notification to the Korea Chemicals Management Association by July 5, 2018. Companies that carry out the business of manufacturing, selling, storing, transporting or using the newly designated toxic chemicals will have to receive permission to conduct harmful chemical business from the local Environment Office by January 5, 2020.