Industry News > Major Changes Ahead for OSHA Hazard Communication Standard

Major Changes Ahead for OSHA Hazard Communication Standard

On February 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed numerous revisions to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) that will require substantial changes to labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) of cleaning products and hazardous chemical products used in workplaces across the nation. OSHA proposed the revisions to its HCS for the purpose of aligning the standard with Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Revision 7 and to address issues that manufacturers and employers have encountered since OSHA originally aligned the HCS with the GHS in 2012.

Background The OSHA HCS is the principal federal regulation that governs the content of labels and SDSs for the vast majority of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, including but not limited to chemical cleaning products. As such, the HCS requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemical products they produce or import and to provide that information in the form of labels and SDSs to downstream distributors and employers that use those chemicals.

Proposed Changes The proposed modifications to the HCS include:

  • Revised criteria for classification of certain health and physical hazards
  • Relaxed provisions for updating labels
  • More flexible labeling provisions for small containers
  • Proposed amendments related to the contents of labels and SDSs
  • Related revisions to definitions of terms used in the standards.

More Information A more detailed article on the proposed amendments to the OSHA HCS is available to ISSA members here. In addition, OSHA has published a “redline” version of its proposed amendments that make it easier to identify the contemplated changes and assess their impact on business operations.

Comments OSHA invites all interested parties (including industry) to submit comments on the proposed HCS revisions. Please note that comments are due by April 19, 2021. Note further that the proposed revisions as published in the Federal Register runs 256 pages. Therefore, we encourage impacted members to begin their review early to be able to evaluate the proposal and prepare comments.

In addition to submitting your comments directly to OSHA, ISSA also invites your feedback on the proposed revisions to the HCS. Submit your feedback to Bill Balek at [email protected] no later than April 1, 2021 for possible inclusion in the association’s comments it will submit on behalf of industry.