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Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels

Dr. David Michaels discusses the publication of the Final Rule for Hazard Communication
[Video | Statement]

"Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious threats facing American workers today," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "Revising OSHA's Hazard Communication standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive."

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. Once implemented, the revised standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. This update will also help reduce trade barriers and result in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals while providing cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard.

Highlights


Hazard Communication Standard

In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of such information:

  • Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
  • All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard

  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Globally Harmonized System?

Why did OSHA decide to modify the Hazard Communication Standard to adopt the GHS?

What is the phase-in period in the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

Why must training be conducted prior to the compliance effective date?

What are the major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard?

What Hazard Communication Standard provisions are unchanged in the revised HCS?

How will chemical hazard evaluation change under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

How will labels change under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

What pictograms are required in the revised Hazard Communication Standard? What hazard does each identify?

Can I use a black border on pictograms for domestic shipment?

Will OSHA allow blank red borders?

When must label information be updated?

How will workplace labeling provisions be changing under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

How is the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) changing under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

Will TLVs be required on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

May the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) lists be used to make carcinogen classifications?

Will the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) classifications be required on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

How has OSHA addressed hazards covered under the current Hazard Communication Standard that have not been addressed by the GHS?

How has OSHA addressed pyrophoric gases, simple asphyxiants, and combustible dust?

How many businesses and workers would be affected by the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

What are the estimated overall costs for industry to comply with the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

What are the estimated benefits attributable to the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

I understand that the United Nations revises the GHS every two years. How will OSHA manage and communicate changes to the Hazard Communication Standard?

OSHA's Complete Set of Question and Answers

Regulatory Cooperation Council

On June 19, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of the Department of Health of Canada (HECS). Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA signed the partnership agreement with Suzy McDonald, Director General, Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate, HECS. The MOU allows OSHA and HECS to collaborate on implementing the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) in their respective jurisdictions, and continue to coordinate efforts in any future developments of the GHS.

Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA explained that "through GHS and now this MOU, OSHA and Health-Canada have forged a relationship to jointly provide concise information to protect those exposed to hazardous chemicals." Under the agreement, OSHA and HECS will establish a working group to reduce systematic barriers between the U.S. and Canadian systems responsible for occupational safety and health of workplace chemicals, and collaborate to reach common positions for the United Nations' Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS about proposed updates to the system, among other goals.

On May 28th, 2015, OSHA announced that it will continue its partnership with Health Canada to align the United States and Canadian regulatory approaches regarding labelling and classification requirements for workplace chemicals through the Regulatory Cooperation Council.  For more details, please see the press release.

The Joint Plan Forward provides a framework to foster U.S. and Canada’s long-term relationship.  As part of the Joint Plan Forward, OSHA and Health Canada worked closely to develop a Regulatory Partnership Statement (RPS) and a Work Plan in which stakeholders were consulted.  The meaningful involvement of stakeholders is a critical part of assisting OSHA and Health Canada’s continued cooperation.  OSHA and Health Canada will continue to seek stakeholder input on a regular basis, including the annual update of the Work Plan.

To view the latest Regulatory Partnership Statement and Work Plan for chemical labeling, as well as all the other initiatives under the RCC, please, visit the Department of Commerce website.

Future updates on Regulatory Cooperation Council activities will be provided regularly.


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe GHS Sub-committee

Provisional agenda for the twenty-ninth session

Joint Public Meeting Notice: Preparations for the 29th session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS)

SUMMARY: This notice is to advise interested persons that on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, OSHA will conduct a public meeting to discuss proposals in preparation for the 29th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS) to be held June 29 to July 1, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. OSHA, along with the U.S. Interagency GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) Coordinating Group, plans to consider the comments and information gathered at this public meeting when developing the U.S. Government positions for the UNSCEGHS meeting.

Also, on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will conduct a public meeting (See Docket No. PHMSA-2015-0101, Notice No. 15-6) to discuss proposals in preparation for the 47th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCOE TDG) to be held June 22 to June 26, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland. During this meeting, PHMSA is also soliciting comments relative to potential new work items which may be considered for inclusion in its international agenda and feedback on issues that PHMSA may put forward for consideration by the Sub-Committee, such as enhanced recognition of alternative test methods relevant to the classification of corrosive materials (see further discussion under the supplementary information section below). PHMSA will also provide an update on recent actions to enhance transparency and stakeholder interaction through improvements to the international standards portion of its website.

DATES: Wednesday, June 10, 2015

ADDRESSES: Both meetings will be held at the DOT Headquarters Conference Center, West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590.

TIMES AND LOCATIONS:
PHMSA public meeting: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT, Conference Room 4.
OSHA public meeting: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT, Conference Room 4.

REGISTRATION: It is requested that attendees pre-register for these meetings by completing the form at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3XTD2TB. Attendees may use the form to pre-register for the OSHA meeting, the PHMSA meeting, or both meetings. Failure to pre-register may delay your access to the DOT building. Participants attending in person are encouraged to arrive early to allow time for security checks necessary to obtain access to the building.

Conference call-in and "live meeting" capability is available for both meetings.

Conference Call Capability:
Conference call-in number is: (888)-675-2535
Participant Access Code: 3614708

Live Meeting Attendee: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/1100004049/join?id=6ZPPNT&role=attend&pw=hSw%3D3%3CW8T

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maureen Ruskin, Office of Chemical Hazards-Metals, OSHA Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Department of Labor, Washington DC 20210: telephone: (202) 693-1950, email: ruskin.maureen@dol.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
The OSHA Meeting: OSHA is hosting an open informal public meeting of the U.S. Interagency GHS Coordinating Group to provide interested groups and individuals with an update on GHS-related issues and an opportunity to express their views orally and in writing for consideration in developing U.S. Government positions for the upcoming UNSCEGHS meeting. Interested stakeholders may also provide input on issues related to OSHA's activities in the U.S. - Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) at the meeting.

General topics on the agenda include:

  • Review of Working papers
  • Correspondence Group updates
  • Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Update

Information on the work of the UNSCEGHS including meeting agendas, reports, and documents from previous sessions, can be found on the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Transport Division website located at the following web address; http://www.unece.org/trans/main/dgdb/dgsubc4/c4age.html. The UNSCEGHS bases its decisions on Working Papers. The Working Papers for the 29th session of the UNSCEGHS are located at: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/dgdb/dgsubc4/c42015.html.

Informal Papers submitted to the UNSCEGHS provide information for the Sub-committee and are used either as a mechanism to provide information to the Sub-committee or as the basis for future Working Papers. Informal Papers for the 29th session of the UNSCEGHS are posted on the UN website at: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/dgdb/dgsubc4/c4inf29.html.

Federal Register Notice: The complete Federal Register Notice for this meeting is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/05/21/2015-12268/preparations-for-the-29th-session-of-the-un-sub-committee-of-experts-on-the-globally-harmonized.

The PHMSA Meeting: The Federal Register notice and additional detailed information relating to PHMSA's public meeting will be available upon publication at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket No. PHMSA-2015-0101) and on the PHMSA website at: http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/regs/international.

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS)

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
[Third revised edition | Fourth revised edition]

OSHA WEB PORTAL

This OSHA portal is ONLY for comments on the working papers and informal papers to be discussed at the UN Sub-Committee of Experts that meet every July and December in Geneva Switzerland
Submit your comments


Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance at (202) 693-1950 for assistance accessing DOC, EPS, GIF, MP4, PDF, PPT or XLS documents.

*These files are provided for downloading.

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