OSHA seeks comments by Dec. 17, 2014, on the Canada-U.S. RCC Joint Action Plan

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) thanks you for your continued interest and participation in Hazard Communication and the associated UN activities.  Your contributions provide OSHA with valuable input as we continue to participate in meetings of the United Nations Sub-committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

As you may know, in February 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper from Canada launched the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to facilitate closer regulatory cooperation between the two countries. The subsequent establishment of the RCC Joint Action Plan is an effort to bring our regulatory systems that often have different or duplicative approaches to targeting the same outcomes, into closer alignment.

In building on the work of the Canada-U.S. RCC Joint Action Plan, OSHA has committed to developing a work plan on workplace chemicals. This work plan needs to be completed by February 27, 2015 and would form part of the new RCC Forward Plan.  Accordingly, we would like to take this opportunity to seek your input on this work plan.

We are proposing the following three objectives:

  1. Continue to reduce and prevent U.S.-Canada variances through ongoing collaboration of our guidance materials (following the principles set out in the MOU with Health Canada);
  1. Coordinate common positions in advance of United Nations (UN) and other international discussions on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS); and
  1. Align U.S.-Canada positions on future updates and implementation of the GHS (e.g., development and adoption of future revisions of the purple book).

In addition to your feedback on the proposed objectives, we would like to get your views on specific elements of the work plan. We welcome your comments on the following questions:

  1. What should be the priorities in the development and publication of guidance for OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard?
  1. What do you see as areas of remaining U.S.-Canada variances or potential variances that need attention?
  1. Are the existing mechanisms for engagement and interaction working well to inform the work of our RCC work plan?
  1. Are there other issues that should be a priority for U.S.-Canada cooperation in the area of workplace chemicals?

Please provide us your comments by December 17, 2014.

Please submit your comments through OSHA’s web portal, at:  http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs-portal.html