Could OSHA Labeling Rules Change Under the Trump Administration?

by Greg Wimble, on May 25, 2017

Does the Trump administration herald OSHA changes?
Does the Trump administration herald OSHA changes?

While product labeling would be a lot simpler if one day the rules were declared truly finalized forever, it's clear that such a time will never come. Evolving needs and viewpoints have brought constant change to labeling regulations of all kinds. OSHA, for example, moved its chemical labeling standards to put them in line with the Global Harmonized System of classification (GHS).

With a new administration in power, one that has made promises of reduced regulations, could standards change yet again? It's probably unwise to bet against such a path.

OSHA in the Trump Era

How will OSHA change under the Republican administration? According to Safety + Health magazine, there is the potential for major reductions in the agency's authority and role. Limiting regulations is an overarching theme with the administration, and Trump companies and their subcontractors have received fines for OSHA violations over the years.

While there is unlimited potential for regulatory instability, it may take time to kick in. Eric Conn of Conn Maciel Carey LLP told Safety + Health that during the presidency of George W. Bush , there were rollbacks of Clinton-era policies, but they didn't happen immediately. In fact, it was two to three years before major actions took effect.

Does an anti-regulation stance in the White House mean changes for OSHA?Does an anti-regulation stance in the White House mean changes for OSHA?

Current State of HazCom Labeling

Despite the ample room to speculate about the future, manufacturers in the chemical sector and companies that use their products need to think about chemical barcode labeling as it exists now, not four years from now. Occupational Health & Safety Online noted that the current state of affairs is alignment between OSHA requirements and the GHS. This has been a process over a decade in the making and has finally come to pass. Companies concerned with labeling should be compliant with this standard now but ready to change processes in the event of new regulations.

For more on chemical labeling check out Loftware's recently released Q&A on the topic.

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