OSHA Releases FY 2019 Budget Justification

OSHA recently published its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Justification. This annual document is important for employers, as it provides valuable insights into OSHA’s near-term regulatory activities and enforcement priorities. Here are some of the key items included in the new budget justification, with commentary on their relevance for industry and EHS professionals alike.


Back in 2012, OSHA began the process of aligning the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with Revision 3 of the UN’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS), ultimately resulting in the current HCS 2012 standard.

Since that time there have been multiple subsequent revisions to the GHS and in late 2017, the United Nations formally published Revision 7. In anticipation of its release, OSHA had expressed its intention to update the Hazard Communication Standard to align with Revision 7.

The new Budget Justification’s “workload summary” directly confirms this intention by stating that “the agency plans to publish a proposed rule to update the hazard communication standard to align with the most current version of the Globally Harmonized System.”

As OSHA aligns the Hazard Communication Standard with Revision 7, it should be noted that alignment does not necessarily mean that the agency will adopt the UN’s version in its entirety. One of the main tenets of the GHS is that adopting nations may pick and choose which elements of the system to adopt. Potential changes that alignment with Revision 7 could bring include:

  • Revised criteria for categorization of flammable gases within Category 1
  • Clarified definitions of some health hazard classes
  • Guidance on extending Section 14 of SDSs to cover bulk cargoes transported under instruments of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), regardless of their physical state
  • Revised precautionary statements in Annex 3
  • Example of addressing labelling of small packages with fold-out labels in Annex 7

When OSHA aligns HazCom with Revision 7, it may also elect to incorporate some of the changes from Revisions 4-6 of GHS, including:

  • New hazard categories for chemically unstable gases and non-flammable aerosols (Rev. 4)
  • Further clarification of criteria to avoid differences in the interpretation of precautionary statements (Rev. 4)
  • Addition of a new test method for oxidizing solids (Rev. 5)
  • Clarification of hazard classification criteria for skin corrosion/irritation, severe eye damage/irritation, and aerosols (Rev. 5)
  • Revised/simplified classification & labelling summary tables (Rev. 5)
  • New codification system for hazard pictograms (Rev. 5)
  • New hazard class for desensitized explosives (Rev. 6)
  • New hazard category for pyrophoric gases (Rev. 6)
  • Provisions intended to clarify the criteria for the hazard classes of explosives, specific target organ toxicity following single exposure, aspiration hazard and hazardous to the aquatic environment (Rev. 6)
  • Additional information to be included in Section 9 of Safety Data Sheets (Rev. 6)
  • Revised and further rationalized precautionary statements (Revs. 4, 5 & 6)
  • New example in Annex 7 addressing labelling of small packages (Rev. 6)

The Budget Justification document states that OSHA expects to issue a proposed rule updating the Hazard Communication Standard during Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, meaning that if OSHA adheres to this timetable (and that’s a big “if”), we would see it before FY 2019 begins on October 1st, 2018.


According to the “workload summary,” OSHA also plans to issue rulemakings in the following areas before October 1:

  • A reconsideration of beryllium for the construction industry and shipyards (final rule)
  • Revised respirator fit-test methods (final rule)
  • A revision of the recordkeeping standard (final rule)
  • A proposal to amend the beryllium rule for general industry (proposed rule)
  • A proposal to update the powered industrial truck standard to include ANSI Consensus Standards (proposed rule)
  • A proposal to revise crane operator certifications in construction (proposed rule).

OSHA anticipates being able to “proceed fairly quickly” to follow up the beryllium rule amendment for general industry with a final rule being published sometime during FY19.


In FY19, OSHA expects to publish 30 educational guidance documents, many of which will support agency activities under the Safe + Sound Campaign. They are also planning to provide educational materials on a variety of safety and health issues, specifically including radiation, agricultural hazards, exposure to hazardous chemicals, process safety management and hazards in shipyards.


According to the “Federal Enforcement” section of the document, the agency will continue to rely apply the OSHA Weighting System (OWS) through which enforcement and other field activities are weighted and evaluted. The OWS works in parallel with the enforcement weighting system (EWS), which focuses on the highest impact and most complex inspections at the highest risk workplaces, and attempts to balance compliance enforcement with the agency’s compliance assistance activities.

Despite OSHA’s target of conducting just 30,840 workplace inspections in FY19 (1,556 fewer than in FY17), we should not conclude that OSHA is de-prioritizing enforcement. OSHA’s OWS enforcement policies emphasize quality over quantity, and inspectors are now incentivized to perform more thorough inspections. According to the FY19 Budget Justification, OSHA plans to have the OWS fully implemented by October 1st, 2018.


Let VelocityEHS Help!

With new OSHA requirements just around the corner, now is the time to start preparing for compliance. Our award-winning MSDSonline chemical management solutions can help you ensure that your workplace is ready for the upcoming changes to OSHA’s hazard communication standard.

Whether you need to provide your employees with access to updated SDSs; generate GHS-aligned secondary workplace container labels; assign, deliver and document employee hazardous chemical safety training, or are in need of expert SDS Authoring services or Regulatory Consulting Services including CBI claim support, VelocityEHS and our MSDSonline chemical management solutions can help.

VelocityEHS also offers a growing library of complementary resources to help employers better manage hazard communication compliance. Our GHS Answer CenterWhite Papers & Guides, and expert-led Webinars will help you get up to speed with the HazCom 2012 standard and stay ahead of whatever new changes are in store as a result of alignment with GHS Revision 7.

Looking for an easy way to keep your EHS programs running smoothly and make sure you’re prepared if OSHA shows up at your door? VelocityEHS also offers a comprehensive suite of cloud-based EHS management solutions including Incident Management, Audit & Inspection, Compliance Management, Corrective Action and Risk Analysis tools to help you make compliance faster and easier than ever before. Give us a call us at 1.888.362.2007 or visit us at www.EHS.com to learn more