OSHA to Harmonize HazCom Standard with Latest Edition of GHS

Published May 16, 2018

The Department of Labor’s spring 2018 regulatory agenda states that OSHA is in the process of conducting rulemaking to harmonize its hazard communication standard with the latest edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. OSHA first released its revised hazard communication standard, aligning it with the third edition of the GHS, in March 2012. Since then, the GHS has been updated several times, and the United Nations recently completed its seventh edition of the document. OSHA’s upcoming notice of proposed rulemaking, projected to be published in February 2019, is also intended to codify a number of enforcement policies that have been issued since 2012.

The new regulatory agenda also indicates that OSHA’s rulemaking on occupational exposure to beryllium remains in the proposed rule stage. The agency previously proposed to revoke ancillary provisions such as housekeeping and personal protective equipment for the construction and shipyard sectors that were adopted on Jan. 9, 2017. OSHA does not intend to change the new permissible exposure limit for beryllium of 0.2 μg/m3 averaged over eight hours. According to the regulatory agenda, OSHA has been negotiating with litigants regarding the general industry standard and “may propose to clarify revisions to that rule.”

OSHA is also preparing to consider whether revisions to Table 1 of the agency’s construction standard for occupational exposure to crystalline silica may be appropriate. Table 1, “Specified Exposure Control Methods When Working With Materials Containing Crystalline Silica,” matches common construction tasks with dust control methods that have been shown to be effective. In November 2018, OSHA intends to publish a request for information on the effectiveness of control measures not currently included for tasks and tools listed in Table 1. OSHA will also seek information about tasks and tools involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica that are not currently listed in the table, plus information on the effectiveness of dust control methods in limiting worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica when performing those operations.

OSHA also intends to explore possible areas of its lead standards for revision to improve the protection of workers in industries and occupations where preventable exposure to lead occurs. The agency plans to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that would seek input from the public to help OSHA consider regulatory options to lower blood lead levels in affected workers. OSHA anticipates the ANPRM will be published in January 2019.

The new regulatory agenda also indicates that MSHA will soon be conducting a “retrospective study” of its 2014 respirable coal mine dust rule. According to the regulatory agenda, the study is intended to evaluate whether the rule “achieves MSHA’s goals of reducing and maintaining respirable coal mine dust levels to protect miners from black lung.” MSHA plans to publish a request for information on its retrospective study next month. The agency intends to evaluate data collected using continuous personal dust monitors to determine whether the 1.5 mg/m3 exposure limit should be lowered to protect miners’ health; whether the frequency of CPDM sampling should be increased; and whether samples taken on shifts longer than eight hours should be converted to an 8-hour equivalent concentration to protect miners who work longer shifts.

For more information, view the spring 2018 agency rule list, which includes all of OSHA's and MSHA’s rulemaking priorities, as well as the status of rules from other agencies under the Department of Labor.