OSHA Grants Extra Month for Chemical Hazards Comments

May 2 is the new deadline for comments on the agency’s Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination, designed to help employers consider all available information when classifying hazardous chemicals.

OSHA has extended the comment period by roughly a month on its draft Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination, saying it will accept them until May 2. OSHA published the draft on Feb. 16 and has received requests to extend the comment period so stakeholders can review what OSHA agrees is a "highly technical guidance" and respond constructively to the questions OSHA posed.

Visit https://www.osha.gov/weightofevidence/index.html for more information; to comment, visit www.regulations.gov and use Docket OSHA-2016-004.

The guidance is 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?" Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels asked in February. "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, according to OSHA's announcement.

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