Physician Practice

OSHA proposes updates to HazCom, comment period ends April 19

Medical Environment Update, April 4, 2021

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by Lisa Whitley Coleman, Guy Burdick, and Brian Ward

On February 16, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed rules to modify the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Revision 7, which is more current than the version of the GHS that’s incorporated into the existing HCS.

If passed, the rules are expected to affect 115,758 firms, 152,427 establishments, and 1,510,780 employees. The proposed changes can be read at www.regulations.gov/document/OSHA-2019-0001-0258, and public comments will be accepted until April 19.

The HCS, also known as HazCom, is a U.S. regulation that governs the evaluation and communication of hazards associated with chemicals in the workplace. This action is expected to “address issues that arose during the implementation of the 2012 update to the HCS, and provide better alignment with other U.S. agencies and international trading partners, without lowering overall protections of the standard,” according to OSHA’s proposed rulemaking. “OSHA has preliminarily determined that the proposed revisions to the HCS will reduce costs and burdens while also improving the quality and consistency of information provided to employers and employees regarding chemical hazards and associated protective measures.”

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