News Release USDL: 96-469
Friday, November 8, 1996
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Extends Period For Comments On California Hazard
Communication Standard Nov. 26
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is
extending until Nov. 26, 1996, the period for comments on
California's state hazard communication standard, which
incorporates the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act,
also known as Proposition 65.
OSHA received more than 45 requests for an extension of the
comment period. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational
Safety and Health Joseph A. Dear said, "We understand that this
is a very complex issue and there are many interested parties
wishing to file detailed comments. However, Congress has
directed that OSHA expedite its review and approval or rejection
of the California standard and provide a report by Jan. 1, 1997.
Therefore we are extending the comment period for a two-week
period, rather than for the requested 60 days."
A Federal Register notice announcing the extension until
Nov. 26, 1996, will be published in the near future.
The California standard goes beyond the federal hazard
communication standard both in content and enforcement.
Proposition 65, part of the California standard, requires
businesses with 10 or more employees to provide individuals with
clear and reasonable warning if the individual is exposed to a
chemical known by the state to cause cancer or reproductive
toxicity. A product label or a sign can serve as the warning in
the workplace. California annually publishes a list of chemicals
known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
In addition to enforcement through the California state plan
system of citations and proposed penalties, Proposition 65 also
provides for supplemental enforcement including civil lawsuits.
Where a state standard adopted in an OSHA-approved state
health and safety plan differs significantly from a comparable
federal standard, the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires
it to be "at least as effective" as the federal standard. In
addition, if the standard applies to a product distributed or
used in interstate commerce, it must be required by compelling
local conditions and not pose any undue burden on interstate
OSHA is seeking comment on whether the California hazard
communication standard meets those requirements.
Written comments should be submitted in quadruplicate by
Nov. 26, 1996, to Docket T-032, Docket Office, Room N-2625,
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of
Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20210.
Comments less than 10 pages long may be sent by telefax to the
Docket Office at (202) 219-5046 but must be followed by a mailed
submission in quadruplicate.