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OSHA, OMB host more hazcom meetings (Updated)

January 5, 2012

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Note: the last two paragraphs have been clarified.

Washington – Twice in December, OSHA officials met with stakeholders to hear concerns about the agency’s final rule to align its Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200) with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The Office of Management and Budget received the rule for review on Oct. 25. The review process typically takes about 90 days. During a Dec. 7 meeting with OSHA and OMB officials, union representatives stressed the importance that the final rule keep intact an “unclassified hazard” category.

Speaking with Safety+Health magazine, Eric Frumin – safety and health director at the Washington-based union coalition Change to Win – said union representatives told officials the category would help protect workers from known hazards not currently regulated by a specific OSHA standard, such as combustible dust.

However, industry representatives were quick to point that such a category would veer from GHS. In a Dec. 16 meeting, the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute stressed that OSHA’s GHS implementation should be “as consistent as possible” with the European Union’s implementation, particularly regarding hazard categories.

OSHA and OMB had met with U.S. Chamber of Commerce representatives Nov. 15 (.pdf file), and the chamber shared concerns similar to API’s.

However, industry representatives were quick to suggest such a category would veer from GHS. In Nov. 15 OMB meeting (.pdf file), U.S. Chamber of Commerce representatives warned against adopting a standard beyond international requirements.

In a Dec. 16 meeting, the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute stressed that OSHA’s GHS implementation should be “as consistent as possible” with the European Union’s implementation. However, API did support OSHA being able to cover new hazards with a category similar to the suggested unclassified one, and recommended the agency work with the UN to develop criteria for such “other” hazards.


 

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