On March 26, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule to align the Agency’s Hazard Communication standard (HCS) with the U.N. Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the HCS establishes new requirements for classifying hazardous chemicals and for communicating hazard information to employers and workers through labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). The revised HCS is expected to prevent 585 injuries and illnesses annually, reduce technical barriers to international trade, and provide annual cost savings of $32.2 million for American businesses.
Recognizing the need to reach a large and diverse community of affected stakeholders, OSHA developed a comprehensive outreach effort aimed at ensuring that all those affected by the standard would be provided with targeted information and guidance materials. The outreach effort was launched simultaneously with publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. Many of the initial guidance products were developed in response to stakeholder comments on the proposed rule. Additionally, in order to provide stakeholders with real time information and a single location for all outreach and guidance materials, OSHA established a new HCS website at the time the rule was published.
The GHS is a living document, which will continue to evolve over time; as such changes will need to be made in the future to ensure that the HCS and GHS continue to remain aligned. To this end, OSHA’s HCS webpage provides a web portal, ensuring that stakeholders have a means to communicate directly with the Agency. This portal provides stakeholders with a mechanism to provide feedback to OSHA regarding future efforts related to the HCS. Additionally, it enables OSHA to maintain open communication with stakeholders, allowing the Agency to continue to be responsive to the needs of its stakeholders.