Proposed Rule Released for Revising Hazard Communication Standard to Better Conform to GHS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced a proposed rule designed to update the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The aim of this proposed rule is to help improve the safety of workers by protecting against the dangers of workplace hazardous chemicals. This blog post takes a look at the HCS and considers the focus of the intended changes.

Hazard Communication Standard

Developed in 1983 by OSHA, the Hazard Communication Standard was designed and implemented to ensure that employers in the United States communicate details about chemical hazards in the workplace to their employees in a standardized manner. Through better awareness of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed, employers and their employees are better equipped to take the necessary measures to protect themselves.

Proposed Rule and Updates

The proposed rule for updating the HCS encompasses several principal goals:

  • Conforming with Revision 7 of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
  • Identifying and addressing issues that may have developed since the 2012 updating of the HCS and its alignment with Revision 3 of the GHS
  • Identifying issues associated with the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS 2015), Canada’s national standard for hazard communication
  • Facilitating alignment with various government agencies, in the United States and in Canada

It is anticipated that by improving the quality of information on hazardous chemicals (on safety data sheets, labels, etc.), this will yield an associated decrease in the occurrence of chemical hazard-related injuries and illness.

More detailed information on the proposed rule may be accessed by reviewing the full notice of proposed rulemaking. Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted by OSHA until April 21st of this year.

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