White House, Chamber meet regarding hazcom standard

December 7, 2011

Washington – During a Nov. 15 meeting with government officials, representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raised concerns about OSHA’s proposed rule to update the Hazard Communication Standard.

The discussion focused on issues the business group raised when the rule was first proposed in 2009, according to Marc Freedman, the chamber’s executive director of labor law policy.

Freedman, who attended the meeting, told Safety+Health magazine that the chamber was wary of the proposed rule’s inclusion of unclassified hazards – defined as substances that may pose a risk to workers based on scientific evidence – but do not meet the criteria for any hazcom physical or health hazard categories. Placing these unclassified hazards under the scope of the standard could confuse employers and employees and offer a “back door” for regulating hazards with no standards, Freedman said.

Changes to the standard would align the agency’s current rule with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, which is in the final stage of the promulgation process. The Office of Management and Budget received the rule for review Oct. 25. The process typically takes about 90 days.