From April to September 2022, the South Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor (MoEL) conducted self-check and inspections of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) in workplaces of enterprises manufacturing or importing chemicals. According to the results issued on November 3, 2022, half of the enterprises were found to have MSDS violations.
The check mainly focused on the implementation status of the MSDS system and workers’ safety measures in enterprises that manufacture and import chemicals in large quantities.
MSDSs outline information such as product names, suppliers, hazard and risk properties, components, and operation precautions. MSDSs must be provided when transferring or selling chemicals.
The MoEL implemented MSDS and confidential business information (CBI) systems from January 16, 2021. After that date, there were no transitional periods for new chemical substances.
It is the first self-check after the amendment. The MoEL had previously sent the self-check list on MSDS implementation to 8,300 manufacturers and importers of chemicals. A total of 28,266 MSDSs were submitted by 1,348 enterprises during the period.
After the self-check period, MoEL conducted spot inspections on 214 enterprises manufacturing or importing chemicals and found about 241 violations in 121 enterprises. The MoEL also took legal action against six enterprises and fined 120 enterprises for rectification.
Results showed that over half of the enterprises (121, accounting for around 57%) did not comply with the MSDS system. 23 enterprises failed to take adequate health protection measures for workers, for instance, the failure to perform special health examinations, and the failure to maintain the performance of local exhausts that are used to remove hazardous substances from the workshop.
- 30.6% of cases failed to affix warning marks on the container or packaging of the chemicals;
- 28.9% of cases failed to submit an MSDS to the MoEL;
- 21.5% of cases failed to provide MSDS training for workers treating chemical substances; and
- 17.4% of cases failed to display MSDSs in the workplace.
Although manufacturers and importers with an annual tonnage of fewer than 1,000 tonnes still enjoy transitional periods, it is recommended that they inspect whether they have full data for MSDSs (16 sections) and whether the information is CBI, to make sure they can submit the MSDS and obtain CBI approval within the deadline.
It is worth noting that manufacturers and importers with an annual tonnage of 100-1,000 tonnes must submit MSDSs and apply for CBI approval via the system before January 16, 2023.
CIRS Group presented a free webinar on MSDS submission requirements and CBI application rules for substances in tonnages of 100-1000 tonnes, please click here to watch the playback.
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