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FAQ on OSHA’s Revised Hazard Communication Standard

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June 28, 2024

OSHA Published Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) Series 

Blog #5: Answering Your Questions About OSHA HCS Updates

Your engagement has been invaluable as we navigated through comprehensive insights on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) final rule, released May 2024. Today, we're excited to deliver on our promise with a final wrap-up, addressing the pressing questions that emerged from our discussions. Let's delve into the key points and provide clarity on this pivotal update.

1. What are the key changes made to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard? 

OSHA’s update to the Hazard Communication Standard can roughly be categorized into four main areas:  
I. Updated to maintain alignment with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) (Primarily Revision 7
II. Addressed issues identified during implementation of HCS 2012
III. Addressed issues of concern for those complying with WHMIS 2015
IV. Improved alignment with other U.S. agencies

These changes will primarily affect classifications, label allocations and Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

2. Was there a change made to require a U.S. phone number and U.S. address on the Safety Data Sheet for the responsible party?

This change is not a new requirement, but clarifies the previously existing requirements of Appendix D, which requires that the name, address, and telephone number of the responsible party, such as the chemical manufacturer or importer, be listed on the SDS. OSHA explained in a 2016 Letter of Interpretation (LOI) that when chemicals are imported into the United States, the importer (defined by the HCS as being the first business with employees in the United States to receive hazardous chemicals produced in other countries for distribution in the United States) is the responsible party for purposes of compliance with the HCS and is required to use a U.S. address and U.S. phone number on the SDS. Click here to see other changes and clarifications to Appendix D. 

3. What are the specific training requirements mandated by the revised OSHA HCS standard? How do these differ from previous training obligations?

There are no specific training requirements in this final rule. However, when a new chemical hazard is present that an employee has not received training for, the employers need to update the training. OSHA has acknowledged that employers may need to do some additional training if a hazard is newly identified due to this final rule and has provided an extra six months to do this training as well as update their written hazard communication program and workplace labeling if necessary.  

4. Does the revised Hazard Communication Standard interact with other standards or regulations that businesses need to comply with?

There is no direct interaction between the HCS and other standards. However, OSHA strives to be compatible with other regulations that have labeling requirements either by acknowledging these requirements in paragraph (b), scope and application, of the HCS such as consumer products.  OSHA also will work with other agencies on compliance with their regulations such as with EPA’s pesticide labeling requirements and the safety data sheet (PRN 2012-1: Material Safety Data Sheets as Pesticide Labeling | US EPA) and EPCRA sections 311 and 312 (osha_hcs_factsheet.pdf (  

5. Was there any consultation with industry stakeholders during the revision process? How did their input influence the final changes?

Throughout the rulemaking process OSHA requests and receives comments from stakeholders. In the Proposal, OSHA requested comments not only on the proposed rule but also on various issues and alternatives. Additionally, OSHA held an informal public hearing so stakeholders could provide testimony. During the rulemaking process, OSHA received over two hundred comments. OSHA reviewed the comments and testimony and then based the final rule on the record. Through this process, OSHA made some significant changes from the proposal to the final rule. First it removed the proposed requirement to have the date of “release for shipment” on the label, it also revised the proposed language for the clarification in (d)(1) to address stakeholders concerns and it finalized a few changes from revision 8 (the skin and eye update to better incorporate non-animal testing and adopting the hazard classification of chemicals under pressure).

6. Does this requirement impact some industries more than others?

This update mainly addresses classifications, labels and SDSs, therefore chemical manufacturers, importer and distributors will be the most impacted.  

7. Are there any exemptions or special considerations for specific industries or substances?

There are no specific exemptions or special considerations for specific industries or substances per se.  However, many of the flexibilities that OSHA finalized in the final rule were from issues that arose during the implementation of HCS 2012.  For instance, OSHA requirements for small packages when a full label is not feasible was a result of issues presented to OSHA after the implementation of the HCS 2012.

8. How should existing chemical inventories and SDSs be updated?

Companies can start by reviewing their current Written Hazard Communication Program which includes the chemical inventory.  This will lay the groundwork for any potential future updates.  As new SDSs and labels become available companies should keep track of any potential changes so they can update their program, provide any necessary training or update workplace labels, if necessary, by the compliance dates.

9. What resources are available to help with compliance?

OSHA is set to update their guidance materials and enforcement directive to support implementation of the final rule. However, there are many resources available to aid in classification of substances. Caution should be used to ensure that the lists are compatible with OSHA’s classification criteria.

Some of these resources include:
•    NIOSH pocket guide: cdc_21265_DS1.pdf
•    OECD echem portal: eChemPortal: Global Portal to Information on Chemical Substances - OECD
•    ILO-WHO International chemical safety cards: International Chemical Safety Cards | International Labour Organization (
•    Canada’s Categorization of chemical substances: Categorization of chemical substances -

CHEMTREC is also here to help you with your compliance needs, especially when it comes to Safety Data Sheets and training

10. Are there any anticipated challenges or hurdles that businesses might face when implementing these revisions?

The biggest hurdle is time. Despite OSHA giving over 4 years for complete compliance with the revised standard, this time goes quickly.  

11. What is the deadline for compliance? 

OSHA has multiple compliance dates: 

osha blog table q and a

We encourage you to reach out with any further questions or insights as we work together towards safer, more informed workplaces.

Learn More About the Revised Hazard Communication Standard

CHEMTREC blogged about a different topic each week to provide a breakdown of each major change to the Hazard Communication Standard. Check out the articles below to learn more:

Please note: These are CHEMTREC opinions and should not be taken as OSHA’s interpretation. This blog’s main purpose is to inform readers of the published Hazard Communication Standard. To keep up with OSHA’s latest updates on the final HCS rule, follow CHEMTREC on social media: Facebook | X | LinkedIn 

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