OSHA Plans Future HazCom Revisions for GHS Alignment

Last month, OSHA hosted an Informal Meeting to discuss future updates to its HazCom Standard (HCS or HazCom), including an upcoming rulemaking that will align the Standard with the United Nations’ Revision 7 of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The Agency originally aligned the HCS with the UN’s Revision 3 of GHS in 2012, and the final compliance deadline for HazCom 2012 was June 1, 2016. The UN reviews and revises GHS on a two-year cycle, so it functions as a living document. As a result, OSHA intends to regularly review, and as necessary, update its HazCom Standard to align with these newer versions.

Possible Updates to the Standard

As it did when aligning the HCS with Revision 3, OSHA stated that future alignment will maintain the basic framework of the Standard and will modify only the provisions that must be changed to align with the latest version of GHS. The Agency said it will “maintain or enhance the overall current level of protection” provided under HazCom 2012. Detailed information about what might change or be added is not yet known, but in the November meeting OSHA provided a high level overview of issues under consideration, including:

  • Appendix A (Health Hazard Criteria): Editorial changes
  • Appendix B (Physical Criteria): Flammable Gases, Desensitized Explosives, Aerosols
  • Appendix C (Allocation of Label Elements): New or updated hazards, updated guidance, precautionary statements
  • Appendix D (Safety Data Sheets): Updates to Sections 2 (Hazard Identification), 5 (Fire-Fighting Measures), 7 (Handling and Storage), and 9 (Physical and Chemical Properties)

Timing details for the alignment process are still to be determined. However, during the Informal Meeting, OSHA also announced an upcoming Joint Stakeholder meeting to be held on March 1, 2017 which will focus more specifically on implementation issues between the U.S. and Health Canada in future rulemakings.  

Stay tuned for additional updates on this blog as more information becomes available.

Staying in Compliance

As requirements related to GHS continue to evolve, it’s important to stay informed. Keeping abreast of changes and staying in compliance can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. MSDSonline chemical management solutions – part of the comprehensive suite of EHS solutions from VelocityEHS – can help you simplify compliance. Contact us at 1.888.362.2007 to learn more.