OSHA and Canadian Health Department sign Memorandum of Understanding to align hazardous communication standards

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WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of the Department of Health of Canada. The MOU allows OSHA and HECS to collaborate on implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling in their respective jurisdictions, as well as any future developments of the GHS.

'Today we live and work in a global en0619vironment with varying and sometimes conflicting national and international requirements,' said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. 'Through GHS and now this MOU, OSHA and Health Canada have forged a relationship to jointly provide concise information to protect those exposed to hazardous chemicals.'

During a ceremony today at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C., Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health signed a partnership agreement with Suzy McDonald, director general, Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate, HECS. Under the agreement, OSHA and HECS will establish a working group to reduce systematic barriers between the systems responsible for occupational safety and health of workplace chemicals and collaborate to reach common positions for the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS about proposed updates to the system, among other goals.

OSHA is participating in the US-Canada High Level Regulatory Coordination Council to improve regulatory cooperation and adopt compatible approaches to promote economic growth, job creation and benefits to consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination.

OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard with the GHS in March 2012 to provide a common, understandable approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. In the U.S., all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must conduct new training for workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding. This training must be done by Dec. 1, 2013.

Further information for workers, employers and downstream users of hazardous chemicals can be reviewed at OSHA's Hazard Communication Web page at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html, which includes links to OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard and guidance materials such as frequently asked questions and OSHA fact sheets and Quick Cards.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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