In this final rule, OSHA is modifying its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). OSHA has determined that the modifications will significantly reduce costs and burdens while also improving the quality and consistency of information provided to employers and employees regarding chemical hazards and associated protective measures. Consistent with the requirements of Executive Order 13563, which calls for assessment and, where appropriate, modification and improvement of existing rules, the Agency has concluded this improved information will enhance the effectiveness of the HCS in ensuring that employees are apprised of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed, and in reducing 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 is also modifying 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. The consequences of these modifications will be to improve safety, to facilitate global harmonization of standards, and to produce hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings.
Agency Contact: For general information and press inquiries, contact: Frank Meilinger, OSHA Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, telephone (202) 693-1999. For technical information, contact: Dorothy Dougherty, Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Room N-3718, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693- 1950.
This rule is final. Its effective date is May 25, 2012.