Joint Effort on Hazard Rule Pledged by U.S., Canada

By Sam Pearson

Sept. 1 — Regulators in the U.S. and Canada will work together to coordinate requirements on hazard classification and communication, according to a new guidance document released Sept. 1.

The document—developed through the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council—details how regulators from the two nations will complete future updates on issues related to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

The guidance paves the way for further coordination between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Health Canada on hazard communication standards through 2017.

The agencies have for several years tried to line up positions on GHS to ensure the two nations’ regulations are in alignment in a way that doesn’t reduce worker safety.

The continued effort will “reduce regulatory barriers between U.S. and Canadian systems responsible for chemical safety and provide concise information to protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals,” OSHA Director David Michaels said in a statement Sept. 1.

Both nations are involved in negotiations on GHS and are updating their hazardous chemicals labeling regulations. Despite the coordination, both nations have taken slightly different regulatory approaches to workplace hazard communication, with Canada finalizing new hazardous chemicals labeling requirements last month.

The nations first teamed up through a memorandum of understanding in 2013. That pact set up a system for the two countries to use GHS as a way to reduce barriers to trade.

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