April 22, 2021

OSHA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Updates to Hazard Communication Standard

OSHA has extended by 30 days the comment period for its proposed rule to update its hazard communication standard to align with the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The extension was prompted by feedback from stakeholders seeking additional time to review the proposed rule and to gather data and information necessary for developing comments. OSHA’s proposed updates are intended to increase worker protections and reduce the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries by improving the information on labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). The agency has also proposed changes intended to address issues that have emerged since the standard was implemented in 2012 and improve alignment with international trading partners like Canada.

GHS, an international approach to hazard communication, is intended to address criteria for the classification of chemical hazards and provide a harmonized approach to documents such as labels and SDSs. Revision 7 of the GHS was published in 2017 and included changes such as revised criteria for the categorization of flammable gases and amendments intended to clarify the definitions of some health hazard classes. The latest revision of the GHS, Revision 8, was published in 2019. A change in classification criteria for aerosols and minor changes to precautionary statements for skin irritation and serious eye damage are among the updates included in Revision 8. In the text of its proposed rule, OSHA explains that while the agency is proposing to revise its standard to align with GHS Revision 7, it has included select provisions from Revision 8 for consideration during rulemaking. According to OSHA, major U.S. trading partners are also aligning with Revision 7.

The proposed rule can be viewed on Regulations.gov. Instructions for submitting comments are available in the Federal Register. The comment period will now close on May 19, 2021.