In a December 29, 2009 Federal Register notice, OSHA has announced three informal public hearings on its proposal to update its hazard communication standard. The hearings will begin at 9:30 am on the following dates:

  • March 2, 2010 in Washington, DC;
  • March 31, 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA; and
  • April 13, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA.

OSHA’s hazard communication proposal is one of the most significant rulemaking efforts in over a decade. Click here for a full description of the proposal. 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 informal public hearings. OSHA has announced that requests to appear at the hearings must be submitted by January 18, 2010, and testimony (if expected to be over 10 minutes in length) and documentary evidence must be submitted by February 1, 2010.