The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s hazard communication regulations require employers to take measures to minimize employee exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals. Among other obligations, the rules require employers to label such chemicals, provide employees access to safety data sheets, and train employees with regard to such exposure hazards.
Last week, OSHA released proposed regulations that would require employers to provide hazard communication information consistent with the latest version of the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classification and labeling of chemicals. This change would assist with imports of hazardous materials by adopting an international standard for hazard warnings.
In addition, the proposed rules would make changes to the classification of certain health hazards, change labeling requirements (including labeling for small packages), and make technical amendments to safety data sheet requirements. OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed regulations through April 11, 2021. Health and safety managers should familiarize themselves with these new requirements in order to plan for changes to their hazard communication programs.