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OSHA HazCom Standard Updated with GHS Revision 7

Posted on 5/21/2024 by Lion Technology Inc.

OSHA published a Final Rule on May 20 to revise the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), aligning it primarily with the 7th Revised Edition of the Globally Harmonized System for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals or GHS. The Final Rule is effective July 19, 2024. 

For workplaces subject to the OSHA HazCom regulations—i.e., chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers— notable regulation changes relate to hazard classifications, container labels, Safety Data Sheet (SDS) requirements, and more. 

Lion Members: See a more detailed breakdown of this Final Rule in a recent Member Bulletin.

GHS Updates to OSHA HazCom Regulations (29 CFR 1910.1200)

Revisions and additions to the OSHA HCS in 29 CFR 1910.1200 to align it with (primarily) the 7th Edition GHS include changes to: 

  • Codify existing OSHA interpretations on labeling very small containers. 
  • Update rules for GHS labels on bulk chemical shipments.
  • Add one new hazard class (desensitized explosives) and three new hazard categories.
  • Provide relief related to updating hazard labels for containers "released for shipment."
  • Revise rules for trade secrets on Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
  • Move the definition of "combustible dust" to the definitions section. 
  • Fix inconsistencies and clarify rules for GHS and DOT labeling for shippers.

Read the Final Rule.

What is OSHA Hazard Communication? 

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is found at 29 CFR 1910.1200 and requires employers to inform workers about the hazards of chemicals in their workplace using mandatory training, Safety Data Sheets, and a written hazard communication program.

The HCS also imposes requirements for chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors related to classifying chemicals, labeling containers, and providing information about chemical hazards to downstream users (such as employers).

What is GHS? 

OSHA revised the HCS in 2012 to adopt provisions from the Globally Harmonized System of Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS). This rulemaking introduced a 16-section Safety Data Sheet, new labeling requirements, and new hazard classification criteria.

The “Globally Harmonized System” or GHS is developed by the United Nations and provides a model that nations can use to enhance chemical safety domestically. The GHS is not an international law—countries can choose to adopt some or all of these “global” provisions.

OSHA HazCom Standard Updated with GHS Revision 7

Updating OSHA HazCom Employee Training

Hazard Communication or “HazCom” training is required for all employees who work with or may be exposed to hazardous chemicals. Training must prepare employees to recognize chemical hazards by reading labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).

Employees must know how to use proper precautions and protections to prevent chemical exposure and injury at work. OSHA sets out requirements for HazCom training in 29 CFR 1910.1200(h). With the major revision to OSHA"s HazCom regulations taking effect in July 2024, update training is crucial to ensure employees can continue to identify and protect themselves from hazardous chemicals in the workplace.  

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