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- As far as the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (which requires MSDS's) is concerned, a chemical manufacturer is an employer that manufactures, processes, formulates, or repackages a hazardous chemical. Another version of the definition is an employer with a workplace where chemical(s) are produced for use or distribution.
A distributor who blends, mixes, or otherwise changes the composition of a chemical is considered a chemical manufacturer under the HCS. Employees in these operations are considered to use hazardous chemicals.
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Companies which blend or mix chemicals comply with the standard by transmitting the relevant label/MSDS for the components of their mixture (which they, in turn, received in good faith from their suppliers) to their downstream customers.
Note: Paragraph (g)(7) of the HCS distinguishes between a "distributor" and a "retail distributor." This distinction recognizes that retail establishments primarily deal with the general public. This type of operation makes it difficult to determine, at the point of purchase, whether a customer is an employer who needs a material safety data sheet (MSDS). Retail distributors are permitted to use an "on-request" system to preclude the necessity of determining every customer's need for an MSDS at the time of purchase or of providing an MSDS to every customer.
Distributors, resellers and repackagers may be interested in our MSDS FAQ question titled As a distributor, can we change the name and address on an MSDS?
Under the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, chemical manufacturers are required to assess the hazards of chemical which they produce or import. Like all employers, they must provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, by means of a hazard communication program, labels and other forms of warning, material safety data sheets, and information and training.
Distributors and manufacturers are also required to transmit MSDS and labeling information to their customers who are employers. This is called a "downstream flow" of information that assures that each subsequent employer who receives the hazardous material is apprised of the hazards.
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See also: American Chemistry Council (formerly the Chemical Manufacturers Association).
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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