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OSHA: Proposed Changes to Hazard Communication Standard

Federal Register, September 30, 2009, Page 50280-50549


Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor


Proposed rule; request for comments


OSHA is proposing to modify its existing Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform with the United Nations' (UN) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). OSHA has made a preliminary determination that the proposed modifications will improve the quality and consistency of information provided to employers and employees regarding chemical hazards and associated protective measures. The Agency anticipates this improved information will enhance the effectiveness of the HCS in ensuring that employees are apprised of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed, and in reducing the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries.

The proposed modifications to the standard include revised criteria for classification of chemical hazards; revised labeling provisions that include requirements for use of standardized signal words, pictograms, hazard statements, and precautionary statements; a specified format for safety data sheets; and related revisions to definitions of terms used in the standard, requirements for employee training on labels and safety data sheets. OSHA is also proposing to modify provisions of a number of other standards, including standards for flammable and combustible liquids, process safety management, and most substance-specific health standards, to ensure consistency with the modified HCS requirements.


Written comments. Written comments, including comments on the information collection determination described in Section VIII of the preamble (OMB Review under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995), must be submitted by the following dates: Hard copy: Comments must be submitted (postmarked or sent) by December 29, 2009. Facsimile and electronic transmissions: Comments must be sent by December 29, 2009. Informal public hearings. The Agency will schedule an informal public hearing on the proposed rule. The location and date of the hearing, procedures for interested parties to notify the Agency of their intention to participate, and procedures for participants to submit their testimony and documentary evidence will be announced in the Federal Register.


Written comments. You may submit comments by any of the following methods: Electronically: You may submit comments electronically at, which is the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions on-line for making electronic submissions. Fax: If your submissions, including attachments, are not longer than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693–1648. Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger or courier service: You must submit three copies of your comments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA–H022K–2006–0062, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N–2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger and courier service) are accepted during the Department of Labor’s and Docket Office’s normal business hours, 8:15 a.m.–4:45 p.m., E.T. Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and the docket number for this rulemaking (Docket No. OSHA–H022K–2006–0062). All comments, including any personal information you provide, are placed in the public docket without change and may be made available online at Therefore, OSHA cautions you about submitting personal information such as social security numbers and birthdates. Docket: To read or download comments submitted in response to this Federal Register notice, go to Docket No. OSHA–H022K–2006–0062 at or to the OSHA Docket Office at the address above. All comments are listed in the index; however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download through that Web page. All comments, including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. Electronic copies of this Federal Register document are available at Copies also are available from the OSHA Office of Publications, Room N–3101, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693–1888. This document, as well as news releases and other relevant information, are also available at OSHA’s Web page at

Further Information

For general information and press inquiries, contact Jennifer Ashley, Office of Communications, Room N–3647, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693–1999. For technical information, contact Maureen O’Donnell, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Room N–3718, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693–1950.