Memorandums of Understanding - Table of Contents Memorandums of Understanding - Table of Contents
• Information Date: 06/18/2013
• Agreement Agency: Occupational Safety And Health Administration, The Department Of Health Of Canada

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY
AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND THE HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS AND CONSUMER SAFETY BRANCH OF
THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OF CANADA CONCERNING HEALTH AND
SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE

Whereas the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States of America (OSHA), is the governmental agency responsible for assuring the safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance in the United States;

Whereas the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of the Department of Health of the Government of Canada (HECS) is the federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health through prevention, oversight and regulation of workplace products in accordance with the laws and regulations of Canada;

Whereas HECS and OSHA share a commitment to protecting worker health and safety;

Whereas HECS and OSHA have deeply integrated requirements for workplace chemicals;

Whereas the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) has been established as the global standard for classifying chemical hazards and communicating information through labels and safety data sheets;

Whereas HECS and OSHA continue to be actively involved in the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS, which operates on a consensus basis and intend to continue participation in the twice yearly United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS;

Whereas the alignment of implementation of the GHS was identified as an initiative of mutual interest by the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and the RCC has adopted a work plan for this initiative;

Whereas OSHA released its final rule to implement the GHS for workplace chemicals in March 2012;

Whereas HECS is on track to implement the GHS for workplace chemicals in June 2015;

Whereas consistent implementation of the GHS in both Canada and the United States will enhance the protection of workers, by reducing the potential worker confusion about chemical hazards, and remove potential barriers to trade; and

Whereas stakeholder involvement is essential to achieving the goals of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU);

With a view of cooperating to protect Canadian and American workers' safety and health, HECS and OSHA, hereinafter referred to as the "Participants", have reached the following understanding as to the goals of this MOU:

  1. to make compatible their respective standards-related measures related to the implementation of the GHS and future developments in the GHS to the greatest extent practicable, without reducing the level of safety or of protection to workers recognizing their perspective regulatory processes; and

  2. to enhance and strengthen the sharing and exchange of regulatory information between the Participants related to the implementation of the GHS and future developments of the GHS with respect to workplace chemicals in order to reduce systematic barriers between the systems responsible for occupational safety and health of workplace chemicals.

SCOPE

This MOU covers workplace chemicals as understood in the context of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System in Canada and by U.S. OSHA. The Participants recognize that some workplace chemicals may fall within the jurisdiction of one Participant but not both and that even where a workplace chemical falls within the jurisdiction of both Participants, they do not always have the same breadth of authority to regulate or address it. Nothing in this MOU is intended to be construed to extend a Participant's jurisdiction or to suggest that a Participant address the compatibility of standards related measures that are beyond its jurisdiction or authority.

Participants intend to collaborate on the implementation of the GHS in their respective jurisdictions and on the implementation of any future developments of the GHS in their respective jurisdictions.

COLLABORATIVE PROCESS AND INFORMATION SHARING

The Participants intend to work cooperatively to:

  1. reach common decisions on their implementation/interpretation of the GHS and future developments in the GHS, to the greatest extent practicable, including standard setting, work sharing (including compliance and enforcement products) and mutual recognition work.

  2. align the technical implementation and guidance related to their implementation of the GHS, to the greatest extent practicable.

  3. establish a working group to reduce systematic barriers between the systems responsible for occupational safety and health of workplace chemicals related to the implementation and future development of the GHS.

  4. work together to endeavour to have common positions for the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS about proposed updates to the GHS, to the greatest extent practicable.

ESTABLISHMENT OF WORKING GROUP

The Participants intend to establish a Working Group on the GHS for Workplace Chemicals, which is to ensure alignment of regulatory work and to reduce systematic barriers between the systems responsible for occupational safety and health of workplace chemicals when considering the implementation and future development of the GHS. The Task Team on the GHS for Workplace Chemicals is to provide the technical support for the Working Group activities.

The Working Group intends to meet annually. The Task Team intends to meet twice a year in conjunction with the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS.

The Working Group is to establish mechanisms for stakeholders to provide ongoing input on GHS issues before the United Nations Sub-Committee and arising under this MOU both through written comments and public meetings.

COMMON PRINCIPLES

The following common principles guide the activities of the working group:

  1. the level of protection offered to workers by the existing systems should not be reduced overall as a result of harmonizing the classification and labelling systems;

  2. the hazard classification process refers only to the hazards arising from the intrinsic properties of chemical substances and mixtures thereof;

  3. harmonization means establishing a common and coherent basis for chemical hazard classification and communication;

  4. the scope of harmonization includes both hazard classification criteria and hazard communication tools, e.g. labelling and chemical safety data sheets;

  5. the involvement of stakeholders in the process of harmonization should be ensured; and

  6. under the framework of the respective regulatory processes, the timing of the coming into force of any regulatory updates related to the implementation of the GHS and any future updates, should be aligned to the greatest extent practicable.

POINTS OF CONTACT

  1. The appropriate contact for the OSHA is the Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, U.S. Department of Labor-OSHA, Directorate of Standards & Guidance, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210.

  2. The appropriate contact for HECS is the Director General, Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate, Department of Health of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario KIA OK9, Canada.

DURATION AND PROCESS

This MOU commences upon signature and continues in effect for a period of five (5) years. At the end of the first year, the Participants intend to jointly review this MOU and may modify as necessary.

This MOU may be modified or extended by written consent of the Participants. It may be discontinued by either Participant upon a 30-day written notification to the other Participant.

Should disagreements arise on the interpretation of the provisions of this agreement or amendments and/or revisions thereto, that cannot be resolved at the operating level, the area(s) of disagreement shall be stated in writing by each party and presented to the other party for consideration. If agreement or interpretation is not reached within 30 days, the parties shall forward the written presentation of the disagreement to respective higher officials for appropriate resolution.

Nothing in this MOU is intended to diminish or otherwise attest the authority of either Participant to carry out its regulatory responsibilities and programs. Both Participants recognize that this MOU does not in any way restrict either one of them from providing any cooperation outside the ambit of this MOU, either jointly or independently.

This MOU does not confer an obligation to perform upon either Participant. Neither Participant is subject to any legal liability resulting from non-performance of the activities outlines herein.

This MOU between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States of America and the Healthy Environments and Consumer Product Safety Branch of the Department Health of the Government of Canada is signed in Washington DC, in duplicate, on this 18th day of June, 2013, in the English and French languages.

FOR THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY
AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
  FOR THE HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS AND
CONSUMER SAFETY BRANCH OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OF CANADA:
  
Kimberly Locey
Director
Directorate of Administrative Programs
Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA)
U.S. Department of Labor
Washington DC, 20210
  Suzy McDonald
Director General
Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate
Healthy Environments and Consumer
Safety Branch (HECS) Health
Canada
Address Locator 4707A
Ottawa, ON KIA OK9

Memorandums of Understanding - Table of Contents Memorandums of Understanding - Table of Contents