OSHA Chemical Labeling May Evolve Again

by Greg Wimble, on April 24, 2017

OSHA and GHS chemical labeling laws could be getting closer together.
OSHA and GHS chemical labeling laws could be getting closer together.

Chemical labeling is one of the most important details manufacturers of potentially harmful substances have to deal with. Failure to comply with relevant regulations could create risky situations and bring on regulatory action. The rules overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are among the major frameworks producers have to monitor - and according to Safety + Health, they may be set for subtle changes in the months ahead.

Harmonizing the standards
As the news source pointed out in late 2016, manufacturers registered complaints with the current Hazardous Communication Standard during an open comment period in November. The fact that the current regulations for U.S. companies are not in line with the Global Harmonized Standard has become a cause for concern.

Due to the fact that the HazCom Standard is recent, dating back only to 2012, OSHA doesn't foresee a major revision in the months ahead. However, changes to make the rules line up more closely with the GHS would be relevant to any manufacturers of covered products. Getting the classification and labeling of potentially harmful substances in line with international regulations was one of the objectives when the HazCom Standard was introduced, making further steps in that direction logical.

Chemical manufacturers may face a rules change.Chemical manufacturers may face a rules change.

Are manufacturers ready to change?
Chemical label requirements evolve all the time - the above case seems to portend a subtle change, but seeing as OSHA's regulations aren't the only ones governing chemical labeling, the situation can clearly become complicated. When companies have flexible and current labeling solutions, these potential changes are naturally less daunting.

Companies producing chemicals for international use can't compromise on creating GHS compliant labels, as well as crafting labels that obey U.S. regulations from agencies such as OSHA and any other relevant standards. While the exact requirements will differ based on the substances involved and the target markets for chemical shipments, the need for capable labeling software is universal.

For more on chemical labeling check out our recently released Q&A on the subject.

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