In one of the most significant rulemaking efforts in over a decade, OSHA is proposing to revise its hazard communication standard to align it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). If finalized, the rule would affect over 5 million business establishments across the country and potentially over 120 million employees. Over 40 million employees would need to be trained on hazard communication under the proposal. OSHA estimates the annualized compliance costs will be almost $100 million for employers. Annualized benefits are estimated to be approximately $850 million.

Because of the broad scope of the proposed rule, all employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the requirements and participate in the rulemaking process. Comments on the proposal must be submitted to OSHA by December 29, 2009.

Attached is a Special Report on the proposed rule that summarizes its key provisions.