ICYMI: PLASTICS Testifies on OSHA Hazard Communication Standard

September 28, 2021

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Marie Gargas
Senior Technical Director, Regulatory Affairs
Plastics Industry Association

Full Testimony , September 21, 2021

“PLASTICS members are committed to worker and product safety, and support increased global harmonization, but cannot fully support OSHA’s proposed updates to its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). We urge OSHA to consider modifications to better serve its objectives, reduce uncertainty, avoid unintended consequences, and provide adequate time for compliance. We welcome the opportunity to work with OSHA to achieve this.”

OSHA’s Proposed Revision to the HCS:

  • Proposed changes to the scope of hazard classification would require chemical manufacturers to classify chemicals based on the hazards of downstream chemical reactions and reaction products. This is beyond a clarification, shifts responsibility and departs from the current regulatory scheme.
  • If adopted, required changes to safety data sheets (SDSs) could create confusion and overwhelm users of many chemicals with excess warnings irrelevant to their use of that chemical.
  • While more harmonized, the proposed definition of “combustible dust” is unclear and inconsistent with a preferable National Fire Protection Association definition on which OSHA has relied.
  • OSHA took some steps in the right direction to improve container labeling. Further revisions would improve requirements for small containers, in-plant systems, materials “released for shipment” and labels designed to meet the requirements of multiple jurisdictions.
  • Further protection of confidential ingredients and consideration of batch variability is needed.
  • The proposed rule significantly underestimates the costs and time needed for compliance.

Additional Resources
OSHA Proposed Rule