Grace period in Korea: How to comply with the new MSDS requirements.

Grace period in Korea: How to comply with the new MSDS requirements.

On November 2020, Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labor (MoEL) published major amendments to GHS Classification and MSDS requirements under the Notice No. 2020-130, which contains a major revision to the Standards for Classification and Labeling of Chemical Substances and Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), regulated originally in the MoEL Notice No. 2016-19, and formulated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (K-OSHA).

The notice came into force last 1 January, 2021, but it stated a “grace period” for substances notified before then. If your industry is affected by the norm, it is time for you to verify if your MSDS fulfill all the new requirements. Let us explain the main changes introduced by Notice No. 2020-130.

  • a) Confidential Business Information (CBI) Claim.
  • If a company wants to use an alternative name or content to preserve trade secrets, it will need to apply to MoEL for a CBI claim. In doing so, the company must provide substitute chemical names and concentration information; information on physical/health or environmental hazards, and enough supporting data to support the need for the trade secret. However, harmful chemical substances causing serious health hazards to workers are not eligible for CBI claims.
  • b) Introduction of the concentration disclosure for substitute chemicals.
  • The MSDS does not require an exact concentration of a substitute chemical anymore, and it can be expressed as a range:
  • ● For a concentration of a substance at less than 25%, companies may provide the concentration with a range of ±10 %
  • ● If the concentration is below 25%, the range can be +/- 10%
  • c) When submitting the MSDS, companies must choose at least one of the 48 categories specified in table 5 of the Standards.
  • d) A single MDSD may be submitted for several products containing the same components.
  • However, the change in the content should be less than 10 percentage points (%P) and have similar hazard statements, and if a product contains substances such as perfume, flavoring or pigment components it will require a single MSDS.
  • e) Table 6 in the Standards provides cut-off limits for health and environmental hazards, in the range of 0.1 % to 1% in 13 categories.
  • f) The MSDS number, on the upper side of the front page on the SDS, is submitted to MoEL via the submission port, along with thel CBI authorisation number and expiry date, if applicable,that should be reflected in section 3.

Implications for companies

Along with all these novelties, the new MoEL Notice No. 2020-130 introduce the requirement to submit MSDSs to the MoEL prior to place a new product in the south korean market, and the process requires an Only Representative (OR) to be designated in South Korea for a foreign manufacturer, as only a local representative can process the MSDS submission to the MoEL. The drafting of the SDS, however, can still be done outside by the manufacturer.

When the legal norm was approved last year, it introduced a grace period for substances that had previously submitted an SDS in accordance with the old standard.

If your company is affected by the new regulation and needs help, you can contact our legal team to help you to comply:

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