US and Canada to Align Hazard Communication Classification and Labeling

September 05, 2016

OSHA and Health Canada, through the Regulatory Cooperation Council, have jointly developed a 2016-2017 Workplace Chemicals Work Plan. The purpose of the work plan is to ensure that current and future requirements for classifying and communicating the hazards of workplace chemicals will be acceptable in the United States and Canada without reducing worker safety.

The work plan involves activities that support:

  • Developing materials to assist stakeholders with implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS) and understanding the interpretation of technical issues and requirements in Canada and the U.S.
  • Coordinating opinions on issues that arise from international discussions on the GHS
  • Maintaining alignment between the U.S. and Canadian requirements for implementing the GHS when revisions are made

“This plan is part of ongoing efforts between OSHA and Health Canada to reduce regulatory barriers between U.S. and Canadian systems responsible for chemical safety and provide concise information to protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Canada’s Department of Health in 2013. The goal of the MOU is to devise a system, accepted by both countries, that allows the use of one label and one safety data sheet.

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. How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)

OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on safety data sheets.

Environmental Resource Center is offering live online training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Bring your questions to the upcoming webcasts on \How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) on November 15.

Bisphenol A: Clear and Reasonable Warnings

On August 30, 2016, California’s Office of Administrative Law approved the adoption of amendments to Article 6, Clear and Reasonable Warnings, of the California Code of Regulations. This regulatory action repeals all the regulatory provisions of Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations, Article 6 (sections 25601 et seq.), except those added via an emergency rulemaking in April 2016 related to warnings for exposures to bisphenol A in canned foods and beverages (Sections 25603.3(f) and (g)). The action will replace the repealed sections with a new regulation divided into two new Subarticles to Article 6. The repealed and new regulations provide, among other things, methods of transmission and content of warnings deemed to be compliant with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).

Prioritization of Chemicals for Consultation by Carcinogen Identification Committee

California’s Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) announced the beginning of a 45-day public comment period on the five chemicals or chemical groups listed below. These chemicals will be discussed at the November 15, 2016, meeting of the Proposition 65 CIC. The CIC is the state’s qualified experts on carcinogenicity for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). The CIC will provide the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) with advice on the prioritization of these chemicals for possible preparation of hazard identification materials. At a later date, OEHHA will select chemicals for preparation of hazard identification materials and announce those decisions in a separate notice. No listing decisions will be made for these chemicals at the November 15 meeting.

OEHHA is the lead agency for the implementation of Proposition 65. The evidence of hazard used in this current round of prioritization is an epidemiologic data screen and an animal data screen. Chemicals or chemical groups passing either data screen were then subjected to a preliminary toxicological evaluation. This screening follows the procedure described in the 2004 OEHHA document, “Process for Prioritizing Chemicals for Consideration under Proposition 65 by the State’s Qualified Experts.”

The five chemicals or chemical groups are:

  • Aspartame
  • Asphalt and Asphalt Emissions Associated with Road Paving and Asphalt and Asphalt Emissions Associated with Roofing
  • Methyl Chloride
  • Type I Pyrethroids
  • Vinyl Acetate

The CIC will consider these chemicals at its meeting on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The meeting will be held in the Sierra Hearing Room at the CalEPA Headquarters building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California. The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will last until all business is conducted or until 5:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting will be provided in an upcoming public notice published in advance of the meeting. OEHHA will send comments received on the prioritization documents for these chemicals to CIC members prior to the meeting.

Copies of the summaries of available scientific information on the chemicals and related attachments are available on OEHHA’s web site or may be requested by calling 916-445-6900.

Interested parties may provide comment on the extent of the scientific evidence pertaining to the selection of any of these chemicals for possible preparation of hazard identification materials. OEHHA must receive comments and any supporting documentation by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 24, 2016. The Public is encouraged to submit comments in electronic form, rather than in paper form. Comments transmitted by e-mail should be addressed to Please include “2016 CIC Prioritization” in the subject line. Comments submitted in paper form may be mailed, faxed, or delivered in person to the addresses below:

Mailing Address: Michelle Ramirez

Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
P.O. Box 4010, MS-12B
Sacramento, California 95812-4010
Fax: 916-323-2265

Street Address: 1001 I Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Please be aware that OEHHA is subject to the California Public Records Act and other laws that require the release of certain information upon request. If you provide comments, please be aware that your name, address and e-mail may be available to third parties.

Comments received during the public comment period will be posted on the OEHHA web site after the close of the comment period.

If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Ramirez at or 916-445-6900.

OSHA Appoints New Director For Its Construction Directorate

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels has selected Dean McKenzie as the new director of the agency’s Directorate of Construction. McKenzie served as director of OSHA’s Office of Construction Services from 2012–2013, then became the deputy director in 2013, and has been the acting director since January of this year.

With more than 40 years of experience in the field of construction, McKenzie has an exceptional understanding of the safety and health issues facing the industry. He started out in the steel mills of Gary, Indiana, as a journeyman millwright in the mid-1970s. McKenzie worked in construction, particularly industrial, in Indiana, Florida, Colorado, and the Caribbean. He has been a licensed general contractor, business owner, and project and operations manager.

In his seven years with OSHA, he has accomplished many things, including addressing fatalities in the communication tower industry, building a strong relationship with the Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, and taking a lead role in the Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction campaign.

“Dean has been a valuable member of the OSHA team,” said Michaels. “I congratulate him on his new position and I am confident he will continue with his forward thinking and innovative leadership in DOC.”

York Metal Toll Processing Inc. Fined $218,502 for Multiple Hazards

Federal workplace safety and health inspectors have cited York Metal Toll Processing, Inc., for exposing employees to uncorrected electrical, crushing, and respiratory hazards, as well as recurring amputation hazards.

The Syracuse Area Office of OSHA opened two follow-up inspections at the company’s Syracuse manufacturing facility on March 14, 2016, after the employer failed to provide evidence that they corrected violations cited during previous OSHA inspections. One of the previous inspections occurred as a result of an employee’s hand being amputated by a power press.

Agency inspectors found that York Metal Toll Processing failed to:

  • Ensure electrical equipment used in a powder coat booth conformed with electrical standards
  • Properly guard live electrical parts to prevent contact with energized circuits
  • Safely remove powder coat via exhaust ducts to a powder recovery system
  • Adequately train workers performing inspections and maintenance on power presses
  • Inspect mechanical power presses
  • Ensure lockout/tagout procedures were specific to equipment in the facility
  • Perform annual lockout/tagout procedure inspections
  • Train employees who wear respiratory equipment, and provide medical evaluations to ensure that they can wear a respirator safely
  • Provide proper ventilation for welders working in spaces less than 10,000 cubic feet.
  • Inspect steel slings used for hoisting
  • Maintain passageways and aisles in passable condition

“York Metal Toll Processing has disregarded employee safety by failing to correct obvious electrical, crushing, and respiratory hazards, and also for allowing new and recurring hazards to exist,” said Chris Adams, OSHA’s area director in Syracuse. “For the safety and well-being of its employees York Metal Toll Processing must recognize the severity of these hazards and correct them once and for all.”

As a result of the follow-up inspections, OSHA has issued York Metal Toll Processing citations for failure to abate fourteen previously cited violations, four repeat violations, and three serious violations. The company faces proposed penalties totaling $218,502 for these violations. The company manufactures parts primarily used in the automotive industry.

Quest Diagnostics Corp.’s Ameripath Faces $152,435 in Fines for 17 Violations

Concerned because they were experiencing sore throats, headaches, and difficulty with breathing, employees of Quest Diagnostic Corp.’s Ameripath diagnostic laboratory in Shelton, Connecticut, filed a complaint with OSHA. The agency’s Bridgeport Area Office began an inspection on March 6, 2016.

The inspection identified violations of OSHA’s laboratory safety standard, which requires employers to protect their employees against the effects of hazardous chemicals used in laboratories. Safeguards include a complete and effective chemical hygiene plan stating the employer’s policies, procedures, and responsibilities for protecting employees.

OSHA found that the Shelton laboratory did not:

  • Provide each laboratory employee who displayed signs and symptoms of exposure to hazardous chemicals the opportunity for an appropriate medical examination
  • Inform each laboratory employee of the signs and symptoms of exposure to acetic acid, alcohols, formaldehyde, xylene and other chemicals used in the laboratory
  • Train laboratory employees on how to detect the presence or release of hazardous chemicals
  • Conduct a hazard assessment to determine what type of personal protective equipment laboratory employees would need and use
  • Inform employees of the location and availability of the laboratory’s chemical hygiene plan and provide them training about the plan
  • Implement each section of the chemical hygiene plan for laboratory employees exposed to health hazards associated with xylene, acetic acids, alcohols, and formaldehyde
  • Ensure that the plan contained procedures for the safe separation and removal of incompatible chemical waste and included procedures to ensure proper and adequate performance of protective equipment
  • Provide laboratory employees with, or post, the results of chemical exposure monitoring and sampling

“A laboratory chemical hygiene plan is not a paper exercise. It’s a continuous ongoing process that is key to preventing employees from being sickened by the hazardous chemicals with which they work. Our inspection found several serious deficiencies concerning the Shelton laboratory. For the safety and health of its employees, Quest must ensure that correct and effective safeguards are in place and in use at all its laboratories,” said Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport.

The inspection also determined that the Shelton laboratory failed to:

  • Prevent construction workers working in the lab from having contact with xylene, acetic acid, and alcohols and monitor or evaluate them for exposure to formaldehyde
  • Post a summary of the laboratory’s work-related illnesses or injuries for calendar year 2015
  • Remove plastic covers from sprinkler heads and carbon monoxide detectors in newly renovated sections of the laboratory

As a result of all these conditions, OSHA cited Quest Diagnostics for 15 serious and two other than serious violations of workplace safety standards. Proposed penalties total $152,435.

AJ New Construction and Repair Fined $139,675 for Exposing Workers to Dangerous Falls

OSHA conducted two separate inspections of AJ New Construction work sites at the Durbin Crossing subdivision in St. Johns, Florida, and a new construction home on State Street in Jacksonville. The inspections were part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.

OSHA issued AJ New Construction one willful and one repeated citation for allowing employees to work from heights up to 10 feet without fall protection. OSHA cited the company previously in 2015 for repeat violations and for serious violations in 2014 for a lack of fall protection. Proposed penalties total $139,675.

“AJ New Construction continues to put workers at risk of serious injury or death,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “Falls are a leading cause of death in the construction industry and can be prevented if employers ensure workers are protected with a fall protection system.”

Rogero & Williams Roofing Contractors Exposed Workers to Dangerous Falls

OSHA issued citations to Rogero & Williams Roofing Contractors of St Augustine, Florida, for one willful and one serious safety violation. Employees were performing re-roofing work on a residence without fall protection. The inspection fell under OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.

The agency issued the willful citation for the employer’s failure to protect workers with a fall protection system as they did residential construction at heights greater than 6 feet. The employer also failed to require workers to wear eye protection equipment, which led to the issuance of a serious violation.

Proposed penalties total $128,077.

“No deadline is so urgent that Rogero & William’s management cannot follow proper safety procedures to conduct their work in a safe manner,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “After being cited for the fourth time in a year, this employer must take action and stop endangering the lives of workers by allowing them to work from elevated heights without fall protection.”

Chemical Safety Board Deploying to Site of Fatal Accident at the Airgas Facility in Florida

An investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that fatally injured one worker at the Airgas facility next to the Ascend Performance Materials plant in Cantonment, Florida, outside Pensacola. Airgas makes nitrous oxide using materials supplied by the nearby Ascend plant.

The incident occurred on Sunday, August 28, 2016. According to initial inquiries, the explosion involved nitrous oxide tanks in the loading bay, where the incident is said to have taken place.

The investigative team will be led by Investigator-in-Charge Dan Tillema. Chairperson Vanessa Sutherland said, “Our condolences to the family suffering this tragic loss. The CSB’s accident investigation will determine the root cause of this fatal incident.”

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

For more information, contact Hillary Cohen at 202-446-8094 or via email at

OSHA, Workers Defense Project Promote Worker Safety and Health for Construction Workers in Austin

OSHA’s Austin Area Office and the Workers Defense Project signed an alliance on August 30, 2016, to promote a greater understanding of the workplace safety and health rights of immigrant Hispanic workers. The alliance’s goal seeks to help improve safety by informing workers of their OSHA workplace rights and increasing awareness of construction safety hazards with an emphasis on falls hazards, caught-in or in-between hazards, as well as struck-by and electrocution hazards.

The two- year renewal continues OSHA close working relationship with WDP. The two organizations entered the initial alliance in 2010.

“Together, OSHA and the Workers Defense Project are making a difference by raising awareness of common workplace hazards faced by construction workers in Austin’s immigrant community,” said R. Casey Perkins, OSHA’s Area Director in Austin.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. For information about forming an alliance or partnership, contact OSHA’s Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271.

Pioneer Construction and MIOSHA Partner to Ensure Worker Protections

Pioneer Construction, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) recently signed a formal partnership with the goal of zero worker injuries, accidents and near misses during the construction of Diamond Place, a mixed-use project in Grand Rapids.

The new commercial and residential space will span approximately 170,500 square feet with ground-floor retail space and more than 160 apartments on the second, third, and fourth floors. Construction will begin this September and is expected to be completed in early 2017.

“MIOSHA is pleased to partner with Pioneer Construction on a project that will benefit the surrounding community and above all else, prioritize the health and safety of all those involved in its construction,” said MIOSHA Acting Director Bart Pickelman.

Pioneer construction partnership signing partners included Pickelman, MIOSHA Construction Safety and Health Division Director Lawrence Hidalgo and Construction Safety and Health Officer Tom Hansen, and Pioneer Construction President Tim Schowalter, Director of Safety Chris Smith, Project Managers Jim Fifarek and Beverly Gerdes, Project Superintendent Tim Schievink and Project Safety Manager John Morris.

“Pioneer Construction is extremely excited to be a part of another MIOSHA partnership,” said Smith. “MIOSHA partnerships serve to raise the bar for construction safety practices and cultivate a safety-conscious culture among Pioneer employees, subcontractors, suppliers and clients. Pioneer has chosen, via the partnership program, to use MIOSHA’s knowledge base and resources to identify and implement best practices and use partnership jobsites as training grounds and launch pads from which lessons learned can be applied to all of Pioneer’s projects. These partnerships are valuable because they are effective in protecting workers. The injury rates on partnership projects are much lower than on non-partnership projects. At Pioneer, we are embracing a goal of zero work place injuries, a vision we call Project Zero. The mission and top priority of Project Zero is to make sure every worker returns home to their family safely each and every day.”

The partnership outlines a clear safety objective and provides analytics to help all parties improve their safety awareness with the ultimate goal of zero recordable injuries and ensuring everyone returns home in the same condition they came to work in.

The safety of the construction project’s employees is fundamental to this partnership with MIOSHA. The leadership of Pioneer Construction, partnering contractors, LARA and MIOSHA are aligned and committed to achieving the objective of worker protection by providing a workplace with an effective safety management system that is hazard-free. All partners agree to commit their leadership, time and resources to achieve this valuable goal.

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