The Department of Labor announced today that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to update the Hazard Communication Standard. This update aims to protect workers and first responders by improving the quality and quantity of information on labels and safety data sheets. The updated standard will take effect on July 19, 2024.

Enhanced Protection and Information

Aligned primarily with the seventh revision of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), the updated standard mandates more comprehensive and readable labels on small packaging. It also includes measures to ensure that trade secrets do not hinder workers and first responders from accessing critical hazard information on safety data sheets.

Key Updates and Benefits

1. Improved Hazard Classification: The updated standard provides a clearer hazard classification process, ensuring more complete and accurate hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.
2. Updated Physical Hazard Classes: The standard now includes updated classifications for physical hazards, better informing users on the safe handling of explosives, aerosols, and chemicals under pressure.
3. Enhanced Precautionary Statements: Labels and safety data sheets will feature updated precautionary statements to guide the safe handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

Addressing Previous Issues and Improving Alignment

The final rule addresses issues identified since the implementation of the 2012 standard and improves alignment with other federal agencies and Canada. Established in 1983, the Hazard Communication Standard was last updated in 2012 to align with the third revision of the GHS, standardizing the approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information.

For more details, refer to the full text of the final rule published by the Department of Labor.


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