OSHA Update to Hazard Communication Standard: What’s in Store for 2019

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OSHA law may be a unique practice area, but like any other area of the law, it’s subject to constant change and evolution. That’s true in regard to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which generally governs requirements employers, manufacturers, distributors, and workers must meet when dealing with hazardous chemicals and creating safe workplaces.

In recent years, OSHA has made significant changes to its Hazard Communication Standard in order to more closely align it with global standards adopted by countries around the world. Those global standards were formally consolidated by the United Nations in 2003 into what’s known as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

That “global harmony” is something OSHA took very seriously when it implemented substantial revisions to its HCS in 2012 based on the 3rd Edition of the GHS. In the following years, however, the UN made more revisions to how hazardous chemicals are classified, labeled, and documented by companies and their workers – which means OSHA had to again re-align itself with the latest standards.

To achieve this, OSHA issued a Proposed Rule Stage item in October of 2018 with a scheduled Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for March of this year (2019). Because there are potentially significant changes on the horizon for an estimated 5+ million workplaces affected by the Hazard Communication Standard update, employers need to prepare now by ensuring compliance with current standards, a sound and compliant infrastructure, and a focus on readiness to implement their own changes once updates are finalized.

Texas OSHA Lawyers with Decades of Experience

As a Houston-based firm with a nationally recognized OSHA law practice, Hendershot Cowart P.C. is available to help employers understand and prepare for the Hazard Communication update, in addition to addressing any other matter of OSHA law compliance or citation defense. To speak with an OSHA attorney about your particular needs, call (713) 909-7323.

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