OSHA Taking Comments on Chemical Hazards Guidance

The "weight of evidence" approach helps manufacturers, importers, and employers evaluate scientific studies on the potential health hazards of a chemical and determine what data must be disclosed on the label and safety data sheet in order to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard.

OSHA announced it will issue new guidance on how to apply the Weight of Evidence approach when dealing with complex scientific studies and, on Feb. 16, will begin accepting comments on its Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination, designed to help employers consider all available information when classifying hazardous chemicals.

According to the agency, the "weight of evidence" approach helps manufacturers, importers, and employers evaluate scientific studies on the potential health hazards of a chemical and determine what data must be disclosed on the label and safety data sheet in order to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard. This draft is a companion document to OSHA's recently posted Hazard Classification Guidance.

"It is vitally important that workers and employers be given complete and accurate information about the hazards associated with exposure to the chemicals with which they work. Without that, how can they ensure they are protected?" asked Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "This guidance will help educate chemical manufacturers and importers about OSHA's expectations on how to prepare accurate safety data sheets and labels required to protect worker safety and health."

The guidance document does not create any new legal obligation and is intended to assist employers, according to OSHA's announcement. Comments will be accepted until March 31; they may posted at www.regulations.gov using Docket OSHA-2016-004.

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