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Earlier today, OSHA announced it has published a long-awaited proposed rule that will update its Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) to align with Revision 7 of the UN’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

OSHA had indicated as early as Spring 2018 that updates to the HazCom Standard were a top regulatory priority for the Agency. However, a proposed rulemaking has been repeatedly delayed, with little indication that any action would be made — until today.

What’s Changing?

The proposed rule seeks to introduce a variety of changes that will affect chemical hazard classification and hazard information on safety data sheets (SDSs) and shipped product container labels. At a high-level, these changes include:

  • Helping maintain future alignment with the GHS
  • Adding new hazard classification categories for aerosols, desensitized explosives, and flammable gases
  • Updating selected hazard and precautionary statements to provide clearer and more precise hazard information
  • Addressing issues identified following implementation of the HCS 2012
  • Updating labeling requirements for small containers
  • Updating labeling requirements for packaged containers that have been released for shipment.

For additional background on GHS Revision 7 changes, click here.

Why are these Changes Happening?

OSHA maintains that the Revision 7 updates will further enhance worker protections and reduce the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries by improving the quality and accuracy of chemical hazard information on container labels and Safety Data Sheets.

The proposed updates will also help achieve the goals of the US – Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) after Canada announced it would be aligning its WHMIS hazard communication system with GHS Revision 7 back in December 2020.

OSHA’s proposed rule is now open to a 60-day public comment period, during which interested individuals may submit comments by visiting The deadline for submitting comments is April 19, 2021.

You can view the full Federal Register notice for complete details on the proposed changes.

How Could the Changes Impact My Business?

With modifications to existing hazard classifications and addition of new hazard classes, hazardous product manufacturers, importers and distributors in the US will need to re-evaluate the hazards of the products they sell or import into the country to ensure product hazards are classified according to GHS Revision 7 hazard classification criteria. It follows that many SDSs and shipped container labels will need to be re-authored to reflect any changes in chemical hazard classification or information and ensure compliance with updated information requirements. Changes to container labeling requirements will also necessitate updating and replacing labels on shipped containers. This is especially true for small containers (> 100 ml) for which the labeling requirements are likely to change significantly.

WEBINAR: Your HazCom Questions Answered!

Join us on February 9, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST for our live webinar “GHS/HazCom: Maintaining Compliance and Preparing for Future Changes.” We’ll walk you through the HazCom Standard to help make sure your workplace is in compliance, and discuss upcoming changes to help you prepare for future requirements.


VelocityEHS Can Help!

When it comes to chemical hazard communication, VelocityEHS is the industry leader. Our award-winning chemical management solutions have helped thousands of customers and millions of users worldwide to simplify compliance with hazardous communication requirements and improve workplace chemical safety, while our in-house team of SDS Authoring and chemical safety experts help you ensure that your SDSs and shipped container labels are 100% in-compliance with hazard communication regulations and chemical safety best practices around the globe.

To see for yourself how VelocityEHS can help you simplify compliance with HazCom, WHMIS and other global GHS-aligned hazard communication standards, Request a Demo today or give us a call at 1.888.362.2007