OSHA Issues Final Rule on HazCom Standard

May 24, 2024

By: Michael D. Billok and Rebecca J. LaPoint

On May 20, 2024, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) announced a final rule updating the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The amended rule (29 CFR 1910) better aligns with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The HCS requires employers to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, by means of a hazard communication program, labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets (SDSs), and information and training, also known as the “right-to-know” regulation.

The amended rule (1) revises criteria for classification of certain health and physical hazards; (2) revises provisions for updating labels; (3) provides new labeling provisions for small containers; and (4) provides new provisions related to trade secrets and technical amendments related to the contents of SDSs, including requiring a specified 16-section format for SDSs. The updated standard makes changes to help ensure trade secrets no longer prevent workers and first responders from receiving critical hazard information on SDSs. Employers who use chemical products that have SDSs will also have to update their training and chemical hazard communication programs for workers.

While the regulation goes into effect on July 19, 2024, OSHA is giving chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors from January 19, 2026 to July 19, 2027, to comply with the new rules, depending on if they are evaluating substances or mixtures.

Employers using products covered under the standard must update their HazCom programs, labeling and employee training by July 20, 2026, or January 19, 2028 – again, depending on substances or mixtures. Until those dates, employers and chemical manufacturers, distributors and importers can comply with either the old or new standard – or both – during the transition period.

For more information on the information presented in this information memo, please contact Michael Billok, Rebecca LaPoint or any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice or the Bond attorney with whom you are regularly in contact.