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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

OSHA Updates Chemical Hazard Information

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revised its Hazard Communication Standard to conform to the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.

OSHA believes that the modifications will significantly reduce costs and burdens while improving the quality and consistency of information provided to employers and employees regarding chemical hazards and protective measures.

OSHA has concluded the improved information will help ensure that employees know about the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed, and help reduce the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries.

The modifications to the standard include revised criteria for classification of chemical hazards; revised labeling provisions that include requirements for use of standardized signal words, pictograms, hazard statements, and precautionary statements; a specified format for safety data sheets; and related revisions to definitions of terms used in the standard, and requirements for employee training on labels and safety data sheets. OSHA also has modified provisions of other standards, including standards for flammable and combustible liquids, process safety management, and most substance-specific health standards, to ensure consistency with the modified HCS requirements.

Besides improving safety and facilitating global harmonization of standards OSHA expects the modifications to produce hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings.

Affected parties need not comply with the information collection requirements in the final rule until they are approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

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