A number of industry groups petitioned a federal appeals court last month to review the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule published earlier this year that revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) hazard communication standard.  The petitions were filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by the following organizations: American Petroleum Institute; American Tort Reform Association; CropLife America; and a coalition of five industry groups, including the American Chemistry Council and the National Oilseed Processors Association.

OSHA issued the final rule in March aligning the U.S. hazard communication standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.  The rule changes the agency’s criteria for classifying physical and health hazards, adopts standardized labeling requirements, and requires a standardized order of information on safety data sheets.

“The fact that there are these lawsuits filed that involve quite an array of industries indicates this regulation did not come out as well received as the administration has been touting,” Marc Freedman, the executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told BNA last month.  “This administration has been waving this regulation around as the shining example of their regulatory look-back efforts.  Clearly, OSHA went too far.”

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is seeking changes from proposed provisions that would identify combustible dust as an “unclassified hazard” and require employers to include it on safety data sheets and labels, among other things.  ACC and others had urged OSHA not to address combustible dusts in the final rule, arguing that doing so would transform it into a de facto dust standard.  Rather, they said, OSHA needs to continue with its separate rulemaking.  OSHA modified that provision in the final rule, including dusts under its definition for hazardous chemicals and removing it from the renamed “hazard not otherwise classified” category.

 

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