"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.
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:
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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.
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