Nickel Users: How to Address the Next
NASF and the Nickel Institute regularly receive questions from nickel users on regulatory developments impacting nickel and nickel chemicals. To assist nickel using companies, the Nickel Institute is planning a workshop on September 11, 2013 from 9 am to 5:30 pm, in Toronto, Canada, to educate players in the nickel value chain in North America.
Key nickel users have expressed interest in this type of workshop and the program is being finalized. If you would like to participate, please block the date and feel free to register by clicking on the following link:
Moreover, if you know of any stakeholders', affiliates of your company, downstream users, suppliers, etc. in the region (either Canada or North America) who could be interested in attending this meeting, we would be grateful if you could share the invitation and/or if you could send us contact details as soon as possible, so that we can send them an invitation.
The meeting is free of charge. We will confirm the location and further details for the workshop as soon as possible.
The Workshop will be Divided into Four Sessions:
Session One will focus on UN GHS (global harmonized system for classification & labeling of chemicals including ores, metals and alloys) implementation and how the Nickel Institute is assisting its member companies and downstream use sectors to track and manage the implementation in 29 countries globally. A new online database created by the Nickel Institute will be used to illustrate this approach.
Session Two will focus on the importance of nickel to APEC economies and the challenges associated with the recent 2009 EU nickel chemical classifications. This will be illustrated using the outcomes of a recent APEC study on the socio-economic impact of the EU nickel compounds classifications for APEC economies.
Session Three will be focused on regulatory implications of the classification of nickel and nickel containing chemicals in different key regions for the nickel industry from mining to end users and how the Nickel Institute addresses these challenges.
Session Four will be focused on the outcome of the Nickel Institute's Life Cycle Analysis for nickel and suggested next steps.
Draft Program of the Day:
|9:00AM - 9:15AM||Welcome and introduction|
|9:15AM - 9:45AM||Status of the GHS implementation and related NI projects|
|9:45AM - 10:00AM||Presentation of the NI online GHS database|
|10:00AM - 10:30AM||Q&A Session|
|11:00AM - 11:30AM||Socio-economic impact assessment of EU nickel compound classifications on APEC Economies: background and methodology (TBC)|
|11:30AM - 12:00PM||APEC related activities and involvement of the metals industry in the Chemicals Dialogue|
|12:00PM - 12:15PM||Q&A Session|
|1:00PM - 1:30PM||Chemicals management: regulatory developments and metal specific issues|
|1:30PM - 2:00PM||Learning lessons from EU REACH for Chemicals Management systems in other regions|
|2:00PM - 2:15PM||Q&A Session|
|2:15PM - 2:45PM||Overview of the different Chemicals Management regulations in North America|
|2:45PM - 3:00PM||Conclusions and follow-up activities|
|3:15PM - 4:00PM||Outcome of the LCI update|
|4:00PM - 4:45PM||Outcome of the LCA|
|4:45PM - 5:00PM||Q&A Session|
|5:00PM - 5:30PM||Conclusions and closure of the workshop|
If you desire to attend this seminar, please block the date and feel free to register by clicking on the following link:
Don't hesitate to contact us if you need further information.
Isaline de Baré | France Capon
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Is Your Facility Ready? Preparing for a New Type of OSHA Inspection
OSHA recently issued a letter of interpretation that allows union representatives and other non-employee third parties to accompany OSHA inspectors on walk-around inspections of non-union workplaces. The applicable OSHA regulations provide that workers may designate an employee of the facility to participate in the walk-around inspection, unless there is good cause shown that a third party is “reasonably necessary” to conduct a thorough and effective physical inspection.
OSHA has broadly interpreted this language such that a third-party representative is “reasonably necessary” when they will make a positive contribution to a thorough and effective inspection.
The NASF has joined the Coalition of Workplace Safety (CWS) in opposing OSHA’s interpretation. On June 12, 2013 the 56 organizations in the CWS sent a letter to Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of OSHA, stating the rationale of why this interpretation is inconsistent with OSHA’s statutory and regulatory requirements and represents bad public policy.
Practical Steps Employers Can Take
In issuing this new interpretation, OSHA has raised more questions than it has answered. As these issues are being addressed, there are several practical steps that employers can consider when a third party arrives with an OSHA inspector for a walk-around inspection at the workplace. The practical steps are presented merely as general guidance, employers should consult with their legal counsel for the specific application to each individual situation.
- First, ask for the credentials for every person that is with the OSHA inspector to determine each individual’s affiliation.
- Second, you may consent to the OSHA officials accessing the facility for a walk-around inspection, but deny access to third parties that are not government officials or contractors.
- If the OSHA inspector has a warrant for the inspection, check to see if the warrant covers the third parties present. If not, then you may deny access to the third parties.
- If the warrant does include third parties, you may want to consider challenging the warrant’s application to those third parties before a magistrate before allowing access to third parties.
- If you allow third parties access for the walk-around inspections, you may want to limit the third parties’ participation as summarized below.
- Limit the third parties’ access to only the walk-around inspection – no participation in pre- and post-inspection conferences and no interviews with employees
- Require third parties to sign Confidentiality Agreements and a Waiver of Liability (consistent with what applies to OSHA officials)
- Require third parties to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during the walk-around inspection
- Require third parties to undergo applicable safety training prior to walk-around inspection
- Do not allow third parties to take photographs or videos or take samples during the walk-around inspection
Because OSHA’s new interpretation appears to open novel legal issues, it is not clear how OSHA will choose to implement this new approach. The NASF will continue to work as part of the CWS to oppose the inappropriate application of this new interpretation. In the meantime, employers can take reasonable and appropriate measures to minimize unnecessary and intrusive walk-around inspections pursuant to OSHA’s letter of interpretation.
If you have any questions or would like more information regarding OSHA’s letter of interpretation on inspections, please contact Jeff Hannapel with NASF at email@example.com.
NASF Washington Forum Presentation Highlight:
Richard McCormack Challenges Claims about U.S. "Manufacturing Renaissance"
Among the NASF Washington Forum keynote speakers in April was Richard McCormack, long time editor of Manufacturing & Technology News. Mr. McCormack is finishing a book on manufacturing due out this summer, and he previewed for the NASF audience a web of market data and analysis that in his estimation points to serious challenges ahead for the U.S. economy and the manufacturing base.
He noted that the U.S. government has stopped collecting some critical market figures. "They are all very hard to find," said McCormack. He argues that if there is indeed a manufacturing renaissance, "the government has no idea there is one. The numbers don't say so, sorry to say."
"Imports are surging into the U.S. market, but nobody is talking about it," said McCormack. "Only one in three Americans works in making products. More people were unemployed than were working in manufacturing at the end of last year. More than twice the number of people work for government than in making products."
The NASF Forum audience and McCormack then discussed his rather sobering catalogue of data, summarized below:
Manufacturing Job Trends
- Lackluster job growth in manufacturing: -3,000 jobs in March 2013. Only 90,000 new manufacturing jobs created in the last year.
- In March 2000, there were 17.302 million manufacturing payroll jobs. But by February 2010, that number had gone down to 11.460 million - the low point. The loss: 5.842 million manufacturing jobs.
- In March 2013, there were 11.981 million manufacturing payroll jobs, a gain of 521,000 from the trough, producing an average growth of 14,000 per month since. At this rate, it will take 35 years to regain those lost jobs - the year 2048. At that time, there will be 70 million more Americans - the U.S. population will be 385 million.
- 2013 global production - 84 million units. U.S. production - 10.3 million units.
- U.S. automobile imports - 4.15 million units, or 29 percent of U.S. market.
- China's production is approximately double U.S. production - 19.3 million units in 2012.
- Total U.S. imports of autos and parts in 2012 were $300 billion, up from $256 billion in 2011.
- The U.S. auto parts and vehicle trade deficit surged from $117 billion in 2011 to $147 billion in 2012 - major growth year to year.
- 1.75 billion cell phones were produced globally in 2012. Not one was made in the United States. That means 200,000 cell phones were being produced globally per hour or 3,327 per minute. In 2017, it is projected that cell phone production will reach 2.6 billion, 300,000 per hour.
- U.S. production in 2012 - 87 million tons vs. China's production in 2012 - 827 percent more, or 716 million tons.
- U.S. steel output is 5.7 percent of global production vs. China steel output is 46 percent of global production.
- U.S. output is not even measurable according to the International Federation of Robotics. A single company is the only U.S. producer of industrial robots, but if you look at the company's Form 10-k filed with the SEC, it states that the company is not a manufacturer.
- A US report on the industry states that the U.S. produces only 1.5 percent of global output - of a technology it invented.
- 163 million American women imported 245 million bags in 2011.
- The U.S. produced 60 million square meters in 2011 - 0.6 percent of global output. China's production was 4.2 billion square meters.
- There were 36 major fabs under construction globally in 2011 and 2012 - ONE in the United States vs. 21 in China.
- U.S. in 2010: 1.73 million metric tons vs. China in 2010: 7.6 million metric tons.
- U.S. in 2000: 2.73 million metric tons vs. China 2000: 1.94 million metric tons.
- U.S. Production in 2012: $4.98 billion vs. China Production in 2012: $27.5 billion.
U.S. Trade Deficit with China
- $315 billion ($863 million a day or $36 million an hour).
- If $1 billion in GDP equals 5,000 jobs, that would be 4,315 jobs per day lost due to trade with China, or 1.57 million jobs in 2012.
- Cost in 2002: $266 billion vs. Cost in 2012: $549 billion.
- 17 million people receiving Food Stamps in 2000 vs. 47 million people in 2012.
- The number of new jobs created over that same period of time: 2 million.
- The cost of Food Stamps in 2012 was $95 billion, plus $19 billion for the school lunch program to feed kids who are hungry.
Imports of Goods and Services
- U.S. imports in 2012 were $2.74 trillion. That equals:
- $7.5 billion a day;
- 23.81 per day per American;
- $8,690.65 per year per American;
- $34,763 for a family of four per year (which is equal to one $18 an hour job).
- Imports are displacing one job for every American household of four.
In his closing remarks, Mr. McCormack acknowledged his depressing calculus but pointed to the historic practical sense of Americans and their leaders to ultimately respond to a crisis when needed. NASF leaders were on Capitol Hill the next day working to ensure the message got through.
Nickel Regulation and NASF Action:
Interim Success through Collaboration
NASF continues to work closely on advocacy efforts to ensure that US and global regulatory bodies make responsible and scientifically-informed decisions on materials uses for a range of coatings processes. One way the association has advanced the industry's position is through its Strategic Partnership with the Nickel Institute.
Closer collaboration between the two organizations as well as with European-based plating organizations has assisted in impacting decisions in one part of the world that ultimately get picked up the by U.S., either through regulation or through procurement policies by global OEMs that impact the entire supply chain regardless of geography. As the European Union has reviewed stricter hazard classifications and restrictions or bans on nickel compounds, U.S. regulators at EPA, OSHA and some states have also considered changes to existing requirements or ratcheted down standards.
The good news on the nickel front is that NASF's collaboration with the Nickel Institute and other European plating and finishing associations has resulted in a decision to delay the European Union's consideration of restrictions for key nickel compounds used in plating.
Emerging Review of Nickel Compounds for Finishing
Recently, ANSES, the French regulatory agency responsible for environment and occupational safety, in lieu of formally nominating nickel compounds for restrictions under REACH, has undertaken an analysis of so-called "Risk Management Options (RMO)" for a selected number of nickel containing chemicals. ANSES had been mandated by the French Ministry of Environment (REACH Competent Authorities) to perform a RMO analysis on 12 nickel containing chemicals.
In addition to needing various information on hazard, emission and exposure data for nickel compounds for surface finishing, the French government and other interested agencies also required an analysis of uses and a detailed evaluation of volumes used for various sectors. This analysis is intended to fill in data gaps and inform discussions on the impacts of banning or restricting nickel compounds in plating.
NASF Resources and Tools will Inform the Review
In addition to informing the U.S. and European discussions of nickel with key diagrams of nickel coatings uses in automotive, aerospace and now mobile phones (available to NASF members), the NASF just completed a joint report with the Nickel Institute that provided important data to analyze the mass flow of nickel compounds in finishing. A copy of the report is available for NASF members by contacting Christian Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Future reports to educate decision makers in the U.S. and Canada will be underway in the coming year as well.
For the preparation of the report, the NASF thanks its key author, Dr. Keith Legg of Rowan Technology, along with critical participation and technical contributions from NASF Supplier Members Atotech (Bill Krenz), Coventya (Brad Durkin), Enthone (Brian DeWald) and MacDermid (Mike Barnstead).
Among the next steps in the RMO process will be to continue answering the technical questions of the ANSES and to fill in the remaining data gaps for two key substances (Nickel oxide and Nickel sulphate) which have been formally selected for an RMO analysis in 2013. Depending on the outcome of the exercise, the remaining nickel containing chemicals listed in the introduction could also be reviewed by the ANSES in 2014.
The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013 and the French authorities plan to consult the different stakeholders, including environmental organizations and others, on the outcome of the RMO.
The NASF will continue to be an important technical, scientific and policy resource in the collaboration.
A New OSHA Interpretation: Union Representatives Can Accompany OSHA Inspector at a Non-Union Worksite
OSHA is startling employers with a new “Interpretation Letter” that departs from 40 years of practice and expands the rights of non-employees and union representatives during the walkaround portion of an OSHA inspection at non-union workplaces.
In a recently released letter, which NASF members discussed at the Washington Forum in April with U.S. Chamber of Commerce Labor Policy Director Marc Freedman, OSHA responded to a United Steelworker safety representative who asked:
“whether workers at a workplace without a collective bargaining agreement may authorize a person who is affiliated with a union or a community organization to act as their representative under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). This would include “representing the employee(s) as a personal representative” and “accompanying the employee on an OSHA inspection” in a non-unionized workplace.”
OSHA answered, in part:
“The OSH Act authorizes participation in the walkaround portion of an OSHA inspection by “a representative authorized by [the employer's] employees.”…. Therefore, a person affiliated with a union without a collective bargaining agreement or with a community representative can act on behalf of employees as a walkaround representative so long as the individual has been authorized by the employees to serve as their representative. This right, however, is qualified by the Secretary’s regulations, which allow OSHA compliance officers (CSHOs) to exercise discretion over who participates in workplace inspections.”
The new letter disavowed and withdrew a 2003 Interpretation Letter suggesting that the OSHA law imposed more restrictions on non-employee involvement in inspections than OSHA’s new interpretation.
Many employers are just beginning to hear about the new interpretation and are concerned about the implications of the letter. But legal and safety experts are stating the obvious – that outside organizations or unions will be allowed to hijack the workplace safety process for reasons wholly unrelated to protecting workers.
NASF members who would like a copy of the complete OSHA Interpretation Letter, please email Christian Richter at The Policy Group at email@example.com.
Senate Bills Would Require High-Risk Facilities to Implement "Inherently Safer Technologies"
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced two bills seeking to require certain high-risk facilities to implement measures — including so-called inherently safer technologies (IST) — to protect them from terrorist attacks. The Secure Water Facilities Act (S. 67) and the Secure Chemical Facilities Act (S. 68) would require high-risk drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and chemical facilities to assess their vulnerability to attack, develop a plan to address those vulnerabilities and respond to an emergency, and provide worker training to carry out the plan.
The bills also would require facilities using certain chemicals to evaluate whether they could reduce the consequences of an attack by, for example, using ISTs. A facility would be required to implement ISTs if it has been classified as one of the highest-risk facilities, implementation of safer measures is feasible, and implementation would not increase risk overall by shifting risk to another location.
The bills would also require the protection of sensitive security information from disclosure, allow communities to have a role in ensuring local facilities comply with these regulations, and authorize grants to help defray the cost of implementing the legislation. The bills are similar to legislation Senator Lautenberg introduced in the last Congress.