Tuesday, April 9, 2024

OMB Approves OSHA HAZCOM Update Final Rule

Yesterday, the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had approved a final rule from DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on “Update to the Hazard Communication Standard”. The rule was submitted to the OIRA on October 11th, 2023.

According to the Fall 2023 Unified Agenda entry for this rulemaking:

“OSHA and other U.S. agencies have been involved in a long-term project to negotiate a globally harmonized approach to classifying chemical hazards, and providing labels and safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals. The result is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS was adopted by the United Nations, with an international goal of as many countries as possible adopting it by 2008.  OSHA incorporated the GHS into the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) in March 2012 to specify requirements for hazard classification and to standardize label components and information on safety data sheets, which will improve employee protection and facilitate international trade.  However, the GHS is a living document and has been updated several times since OSHA’s rulemaking. While OSHA's HCS 2012 was based on the third edition of the GHS, OSHA’s current rulemaking is to harmonize the HCS to the seventh edition of the GHS, improve harmonization with international trading partners such as Canada, and to codify a number of enforcement policies that have been issued since the 2012 standard.”

We could see this final rule published in the Federal Register in the next week or two.


Having worked on the change-over from MSDS to SDS that was a major portion of the 2012 final rule in two different relatively small chemical companies, I know how much of a pain a HAZCOM update can be. Every chemical manufacturer or importer is going to have to review/update the SDS for each chemical in its repertoire to meet the new requirements. If ever there was an area that needed a well-designed artificial intelligence, this is it.

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