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The Final Rule Update to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom)

February 27, 2024

Chemical tanks

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) has seen a lot of updates in recent years, but it is especially important to be aware of its most recent rule update. If your company works with hazardous chemicals, you will need to abide by this new rule to remain legally compliant. Take a look at the details of this new rule, and discover how it may impact your company’s requirements for compliance.

What Is the New Rule?

The new rule will align OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. It is designed to increase worker protection in industries that handle hazardous chemicals by reducing chemical-related illnesses and injuries. Specifically, this rule enforces higher standards for label information and safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals.

New Rule Timeline

The final rule was submitted to the White House for approval on October 11, 2023. It is expected to be officially finalized early in 2024. Once the final rule is put into effect, companies that manufacture substances will have a year to get into compliance with the new standard. Manufacturers that make mixtures will have two years from the finalization of the rule to become compliant. Broadly speaking, OSHA compliance is a complex process that requires early action to navigate smoothly.

How the New Rule Affects Manufacturers

With the new rule in place, manufacturers will have to uphold a much more rigorous safety standard when dealing with hazardous chemicals, and owners should prepare for the effort that compliance will take. For example, the label regulations require manufacturers to include any hazards posed by the chemical on the label, which includes potential hazards in its current form as well as any potential hazards that could show up down the road from possible combinations and reactions.

Gathering data on the potential hazards of chemicals can be a comprehensive process. This is time-consuming and requires extra manpower, which will require extra spending for the company. Plus, manufacturers may need to find a way to meet the labeling requirements without being forced to give away proprietary formulas and trade secrets. Companies that operate within the US and the EU will find that the new regulations are closer to the EU's standards than before but still have key differences to be aware of.

When different labels are used in different regions, manufacturers may face additional challenges apart from compliance. Different labels in different regions could potentially create distrust among the customer base, as it can seem as if the manufacturer is being dishonest. Because of this, companies will also need to consider how their marketing efforts could account for this and help maintain consumer trust.

Maintain Compliance With Help From SPLI

At SPLI, we keep up to date with all the latest OSHA regulations — from heat illness prevention measures to rules updates like this one to HazCom — and how they could affect your company, including OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard. 

Connect with our team to stay covered with workers’ compensation and keep your employees and business safe. When you partner with us, your wins are our wins, so you can expect a focused interest in your business's success. Get in touch with our team today to get started.

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