North America Central & Latin America Europe
Africa Middle East Asia-Pacific

UNITED STATES

FEDERAL
2015 Clean Water Rule will take effect in 2020 if new definition of WOTUS is not developed
Effective February 6, 2018, the 2015 Clean Water Rule will be the governing law for the issuance of permits under the Clean Water Act and its implementing regulations beginning in 2020. The U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (the agencies) added an applicability date to the Clean Water Rule promulgated in 2015. With this applicability date, the 2015 definition of "waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) will take effect in 2020. In July 2017, the agencies proposed a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS. Adding an applicability date to the 2015 rule provides greater regulatory certainty while the agencies continue to work on the two-step rulemaking process.

EPA adopts amendments to apply a consistent approach in addressing confidentiality claims for export and import documentation for hazardous waste
Companies may no longer make a claim that a document related to the export, import, or transit of hazardous waste and export of excluded cathode ray tubes (CRTs) is confidential business information (CBI). These amendments were adopted on December 26, 2017. A second set of amendments, regarding Public Accessibility, was proposed at the same time as the CBI amendments, but they have not yet been adopted. Under the proposed Public Accessibility amendments, companies would have to maintain a publicly accessible website to publish documents regarding the confirmation of receipt and confirmation of completed recovery or disposal of individual hazardous waste import and export shipments if the EPA's proposal is adopted.

Companies using or manufacturing mercury would have to report to EPA under proposed rule
Companies that manufacture, import or intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process may have to report certain information concerning their activities to the EPA. The reporting process would be completed using an online format at EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX) starting on July 1, 2019 and every three years thereafter. A company's reporting requirement would differ according to the activity it engages in and the amount of mercury it manufactures or imports. Finally, companies who would need to report information under these proposed amendments would also have to maintain all relevant records for a period of three years.

NEW JERSEY
Companies must comply with updated Uniform Fire Code that incorporates the 2015 International Fire Code
Effective July 1, 2018, companies must comply with revisions to the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code, including the incorporation by reference of the 2015 International Fire Code (IFC), under a rule adopted by the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (NJDFS). Under the adopted rule, companies must comply with the 2015 IFC instead of the 2006 IFC in addition to complying with new state-specific requirements that the NJDFS added to the Uniform Fire Code.

OHIO
Under amendments, permits to repair wastewater disposal systems may not be required and sewage holding tanks allowed in extreme cases
Effective February 23, 2018, companies that own or operate wastewater disposal systems or sewage systems may benefit from adopted amendments to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) regulations controlling permitting for these systems. The amendments expand the circumstances under which companies are not required to obtain a permit before commencing activities related to wastewater disposal systems. Additionally, the amendments permit the use of a sewage holding tank in extreme site circumstances, as defined by the regulation.

WISCONSIN
Explosives manufacturers and handlers must now comply with amended notification and control-of-adverse-effects requirements
Effective April 1, 2018, manufacturers and handlers of fireworks or explosives must comply with the updated regulations under the Explosives and Fireworks chapter of the Wisconsin Administrative Code (WAC). Under the rule adopted by the Wisconsin State Department of Safety and Professional Services (SPS), the company must comply with the 2013 National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Standard 495, Explosive Materials Code instead of the 2006 edition and must comply with additional modifications to notification and inspection requirements.

CANADA

Government announces framework against workplace harassment and sexual violence
All companies could see a change to provisional occupational health and safety regulations and policies on sexual harassment and violence. On November 7, 2017, the Government of Canada announced a proposed framework to address workplace harassment and sexual violence issues. Bill C-65, introduced by Parliament, would amend existing provisions in the Canada Labour Code, which affect both private-sector and public-sector federally-regulated workplaces. While the proposed framework would only apply to workplaces under federal jurisdiction (such as federal public service offices), and therefore does not affect or impose any additional requirements on private industry, companies may see a change in requirements in the future, if provinces begin to adopt similar frameworks.

ONTARIO
Companies with on-site canteens must comply with new operation and maintenance requirements
As of July 1, 2018, companies with an on-site food premise must comply with new and updated operational and maintenance requirements. The Ontario Ministry of Health (Ministry) adopted the Food Premises regulation that contains various requirements that food premises must comply with. The regulation consolidates existing requirements for food premises and also contains new requirements for food premises. For example, the amendments include mandatory on-site disclosure of inspections.

 

Central & Latin America

 

ARGENTINA

Employers would have to comply with additional requirements for their home workers
In the future, employers that assign employees to telework (teletrabajo) would have to obtain the written consent (consentimiento por escrito) of the assigned workers and keep a record of employees assigned to work from home. This follows from Law Proposal 5533-D-2017, currently pending consideration in the National House of Representatives (Honorable Cámara de Diputados de la Nación) which would also require employers to ensure the control systems designed to protect their property and information respect the privacy of the teleworker and pay their teleworkers a monthly allowance as "assignment teleworking expenses".

Buenos Aires
Companies employing motorcycle' drivers to comply with safety requirements
As of January 24, 2018, companies that employ drivers for mopeds, motorcycles, motorized tricycles, and quadricycles must ensure the drivers and passengers use helmets, the drivers wear glasses if the vehicles do not have a windshield, and the drivers do not use headphones or mobile phone systems while driving. This follows from Law 15.002 which also requires that the aforementioned vehicles do not to carry more passengers than allowed by their design, their cargo does not exceed the maximum weight limits (to be established), and are covered by an insurance.

BRAZIL

Extended producer responsibility requirements for steel packaging under consultation
Until January 12, 2018, interested companies can propose to the Ministry of Environment (MMA) amendments to the term of commitment for the implementation of a Reverse Logistics System for Steel Packaging. This system would establish extended producer’s responsibility rules for steel packaging, such those used for food, paints, cosmetics and aerosols. End users would have to dispose of waste steel packaging separately from other waste, at collection points installed by the municipal authorities, manufacturers, importers or retailers, or directly in authorized collection centers or recycling facilities. Manufacturers, importers, retailers and distributors of steel packaging who are members of one of the three associations signing the term of commitment (ABRAFATI, ABAS and AMACO) would have to ensure the collection and recycling of steel packaging they place on the market when it becomes waste. Other companies could join the system on a voluntary basis.

COSTA RICA

Requirements for registration and notification of chemical products updated
As of May 1, 2018, manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemical products must classify them and make the respective label and safety data sheets (SDS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Manufacturers or importers must also notify the Ministry of Health about the import or marketing of a chemical product that due to its characteristics is not considered as hazardous. Moreover, companies must provide additional information to register products with enzymes and non-pathogenic bacteria.

COLOMBIA

Proposal for a Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS)
In the future, manufacturers and importers of chemicals would have to classify, label and compile the respective SDS following the requirements established in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). They would have to guarantee access to the scientific and technical support used to make the label to the competent authorities. The GHS would apply to the transport of chemical products, chemical pesticides for agricultural use, chemicals products used at the workplace, and chemical products intended for consumers.

 

Europe

 

EUROPEAN UNION

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-hours weekly rest periods in their vehicles.

Employers to comply with new or stricter occupational exposure limits (OELs) for 13 carcinogens
As of January 17, 2020, facilities where workers can be exposed to hazardous chemicals must comply with new or stricter occupational exposure limit (OELs) for 13 carcinogens. This follows from Directive (EU) 2017/2398 amending Directive 2004/37/EC. Directive (EU) 2017/2398 establishes stricter OELs for hardwood dust (3 mg/m3 until 17 January 2023 and 2 mg/m3 thereafter) and vinyl chloride monomer (2.6 mg/m3). It also sets new OELs for 11 substances, including, ethylene oxide (CAS 75-21-8) (1.8 mg/m3), acrylamide (CAS 79-06-1) (0.1 mg/m3), 1,3-butadiene (CAS 106-99-0) (2.2 mg/m3) and respirable crystalline silica dust generated by a work process (0.1mg/m3). Furthermore, employers must assess and reduce workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust, following its inclusion in the list of carcinogens of Annex I to Directive 2004/37/EC.

EU to adopt measures to promote plastic reuse and recycling
In the future, companies can face stricter separated disposal requirements for waste packaging and other plastic materials. Manufacturers and importers of plastic products would have to comply with new eco-design requirements for their products to ensure for their recyclability. Companies placing on the EU market plastic packaging would have to comply with stricter take-back and recycling requirements. These are some of the measures foreseen in the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy”, which aims to address the problems caused by the production, use and consumption of plastics.

PORTUGAL

Rubber material derived from used tires can be used as a raw material following adoption of EoW criteria
As of February 18, 2018, rubber material derived from used tires subject to a valorization process, including recycling, and complying with the technical criteria set in Annex I to Ordinance 20/2018 will cease to be waste and again considered as a product. Producers of rubber material derived from used tires must implement a management system to ensure compliance with the EoW criteria, draft a declaration of conformity (declaração de conformidade) in Portuguese, and comply with relevant labeling and information requirements. Producers and importers of rubber material derived from used tires must submit a report on its activities in the previous calendar year to the Portuguese Environment Agency (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente – APA) annually by March 31.

FINLAND

Requirements established for the notification, marking and installation of certain conduits placed in rivers or streams not requiring a permit
As of March 1, 2018, operators in Finland placing conduits (water, sewage, power, communications cable or similar) under a river or a stream which do not require a permit must comply with the requirements as regards the notification and markings associated with such procedure as well as the placement of the conduit. This follows from Government Decree 146/2018 concerning certain conduits placed in water areas, which further implements the changes set out in an earlier amendment 611/2017 to the Water Act.

FRANCE

List of pathogenic biological agents and prevention measures against workers' exposure updated
As of February 16, 2018, companies exposing their employees to biological agents must respect the updated safety measures against workers' exposure established by Order of 27 December 2017 on the list of biological agents and the technical preventive measures to be implemented in laboratories where workers may be exposed to biological agents. Facilities must take appropriate safety and security measures in terms of equipment, decontamination and working conditions. Among others, group 4 biological agents must be in level 4 confinement facilities.

THE NETHERLANDS

Employers to comply with stricter occupational exposure limit for ionizing radiation for the eye lens
The Decision of October 23, 2017 laying down rules for the protection of individuals against the dangers of exposure to ionizing radiation (Decision on basic safety standards for radiation protection) turned into force on February 6, 2018 and transposes EU Directive 2013/59/Euratom. It repeals and replaces the Decision for radiation protection of July 16, 2001. Some changes have been introduced.

The Decision applies to every planned exposure situation, every existing exposure situation or radiological emergency situation where the risk to exposure is not to be neglected.

GERMANY

Occupational exposure limit values for several substances introduced or clarified
Since November 30, 2017, companies handling chemicals now have to comply with occupational exposure limit values (OELVs) introduced as well as amended for several substances, for example, hydrogen cyanide, cyclohexylamine and indium. Secondly, companies also have to be aware of the redraft of the application and scope of occupational exposure limits for hydrocarbon mixtures. These modifications have been introduced by the latest amendment of the Technical Rules on Dangerous Substances TRGS 900 Occupational Exposure Limits at the Workplace.

 

Africa

 

SOUTH AFRICA

Employers will soon have to comply with stronger health and safety measures for the protection of workers who may be exposed to asbestos dust
In the near future, employers would have to ensure that all asbestos-containing materials at the workplace are identified by a competent person as described under the Draft Asbestos Abatement Regulations of January 19, 2018. If adopted, the Draft Regulations would provide stricter requirements for the management and removal of asbestos at facilities undertaking works that may expose employees to asbestos dust.

Facilities operating in the paper packaging, lighting, electrical and electronic industry must submit industry waste management plans for approval
As of December 6, 2017, producers that engage in the commercial manufacture, conversion, or import of new and used paper and packaging material, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic equipment or goods wrapped in packaging material must either prepare and submit an Industry Waste Management Plan (IWMP) to the Minister of Environment for approval or subscribe to an already approved IWMP. Among other things, the IWMP must include measures and programs to minimize the generation of a particular waste stream and final disposal of that waste stream, and identify any incentives to encourage the end user to practice good waste management.

GHANA

Mining companies may soon be prohibited from using mercury and mercury compounds in their operations
Mining companies could soon be subject to stricter restrictions including a complete ban on the use of mercury and mercury compounds in their operations. This follows an announcement from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation(MESTI), to drastically reduce the use of mercury in mining activities as it poses serious health hazards.

 

Middle East

 

TURKEY

Interior communication installations must comply with the Technical Specification Document of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority
As of May 21, 2018, companies that construct a new building or undertake a major alteration in their buildings are required to comply with the Technical Specification Document of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority regarding their interior communication installations, instead of that of the Post, Telephone and Telegraph Authority (PTT). The requirements include the architectural project dossier and the earthing of interior communication installations that must comply with the Specification Document.

IRAQ

Companies manufacturing or importing composite gas cylinders must comply with a new standard on testing and inspection
As of February 26, 2018, companies manufacturing or importing composite gas cylinders must ensure that their products comply with the mandatory Iraqi standard Number 5007. This follows on from the adoption of Notice No. 1438 of 2018 issued by the Central Organization for Standardization and Quality Control. Notice No. 1438 of 2018 adopts a new standard on periodic inspection and testing for gas cylinders.

 

Asia-Pacific

 

JAPAN

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.

Companies are required to affix a consumer safety compliance label for portable lithium ion batteries
From February 1, 2018, companies manufacturing, importing, or selling lithium-ion batteries in the form of portable batteries used by the end-user mainly to charge electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), must ensure that necessary safety requirements are met, including the affixing of a “PSE mark” to the product that ensures safety. Companies have a one-year transition period until February 1, 2019 to fully comply with the safety requirements.

CHINA

First batch of water-using products will be subject to water efficiency labeling requirements
Starting on August 1, 2018, toilets manufactured in or imported to China will be required to have water efficiency labels on their packaging. Under Measures on the Management of Water Efficiency Labels, manufacturers and importers of products that are listed in the Catalogue of Water Efficiency Label Products must ensure that the products are properly marked with water efficiency labels before they leave the factories or enter China's customs. The first batch of the Catalogue contains only one category of products -- toilets. Details requirements regarding the labels are also provided in the Implementing Rules of Water Efficiency Labels on Toilets.

Jiangsu
Companies will be subject to volatile organic compounds prevention and control requirements from May 1, 2018
Starting on May 1, 2018, companies must not produce, import, or use raw materials or products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which exceed applicable national or regional VOC content limits. The Jiangsu Measures on Prevention and Control of VOC Pollution (江苏省挥发性有机物污染防治管理办法) sets forth legal requirements regarding VOC contents, emissions, monitoring, and prevention measures.

Hong Kong
Definitions and specifications adopted for electric products to be subject to energy labeling requirements
In the future, companies manufacturing, importing, or supplying washing machines with a rated capacity greater than seven kilograms but not exceeding 10 kilograms must comply with energy efficiency labeling requirements. The Energy Efficiency (Labeling of Products) Ordinance (Amendment of Schedules) Order 2018 amends Schedules of the Energy Efficiency Labeling of Products Ordinance (Cap.598) by adding definitions and specifications of new prescribed products (televisions, storage type electric water heaters, and induction cookers). Moreover, it expands the scope of washing machines subject to the energy efficiency labeling requirements, and prescribes new requirements for room air conditioners of reverse cycle type. It also provides transitional arrangements for such washing machines and room air conditioners. The Order will come into effect on a day to be decided by the Secretary for the Environment.

NEW ZEALAND

Companies no longer allowed to sell or make personal care products with microbeads
As of June 7, 2018, companies in New Zealand are prohibited from manufacturing or selling personal care or cleaning products such as certain facial cleansers, body scrubs and toothpastes, if they contain microbeads. However, if the product is considered as medicine or a medical device then the prohibition does not apply. Further, companies can still sell products that contain microbeads if they are capable of being imported to or produced in Australia lawfully, because of the mutual recognition agreement.