OSHA and Health Canada Agree to Agree on GHS Alignment

According to an OSHA News Release, in a ceremony at the Department of Labor on Wednesday, OSHA and the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety (HECS) Branch of Health Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding that calls for both agencies to collaborate on their respective implementations of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

The agreement between OSHA’s Dr. David Michaels and the HECS’s Suzy McDonald is an affirmation of a commitment made December 7, 2012 by U.S. President, Barack Obama, and Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper to do the same. Close trading partners, the United States and Canada, have for a long time had hazard communications standards with significant differences. Yesterday’s agreement could go a long way in reducing regulatory burdens for chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors in both countries.

In the U.S., OSHA has already aligned its Hazard Communication Standard with GHS. Health Canada is poised to do the same in coming months. For more on Canada’s adoption of GHS and what changes could be in store for companies with compliance obligations under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), read our blog post GHS Adoption Means Big Changes to Canada’s WHMIS.

MSDSonline also has a free webinar on Canada’s impending changes to WHMIS, available here.