Article

US/Canada Issue Joint Guidance on Hazard Communication Requirements

Posted on: April 29, 2020

by Caroline Miller, CIH, CSP

photo of people discussing topics on a laptop - US/Canada Issue Joint Guidance on Hazard Communication RequirementsThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently posted to their website joint guidance with Health Canada on hazard communication requirements. The three joint guidance documents covers labeling requirements for hazardous products, regulatory processes for hazardous products in the workplace, and guidance on labeling pictograms for hazards not otherwise classified. This is in an effort to assist companies who offer products in both the United States and Canada on hazard communication requirements.

The guidance for labeling requirements for shipped containers provides a table comparing requirements under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) and Canada’s Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR). Included in the table are languages, pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and supplier identification requirements, as well as the supplemental information that is allowed. Also included is information regarding layout, durability and legibility of the label.

The comparison of regulatory processes for hazardous products in the workplace includes the requirements for hazard communication in the United States and Canada accountable at the federal, provincial/territorial/state, supplier, employer, and worker level. It explains the role of the federal government and states or provinces in the various aspects of labelling, safety data sheets (SDSs), and training for hazard communication in each country.

The guidance on labeling pictograms on hazards not otherwise classified includes the requirements for HazCom 2012’s Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC) and Canada’s Physical Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (PHNOC) and Health Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (HHNOC). This is a complicated issue for companies as OSHA’s HazCom 2012 does not require label elements for HNOCs, while Canada’s HPR does require label elements for PHNOCs and HHNOCs.

OSHA’s Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard, CPL 02-02-079 (dated July 9, 2015) includes guidance to include pictograms on the label or SDS for HNOCs as long as that pictogram is not an HCS pictogram and does not conflict with the labeling elements that are required. In OSHA’s September 21, 2016 field enforcement memorandum, OSHA clarifies that the use of the exclamation mark pictogram for HNOCs will be allowed. In the joint guidance on labeling pictograms, OSHA will permit the use of the exclamation mark pictogram for HNOCs under the following conditions:

  • If the label also indicates that the pictogram is being used for a hazard not otherwise classified (e.g., the words “Hazard Not Otherwise Classified” or “HNOC” must appear below the exclamation mark pictogram).
  • The exclamation mark pictogram may appear only once on a label; if it already appears as a required pictogram, it may not appear a second time as supplemental information for the HNOC.

Canada allows the acronym “HNOC” or the statement “Hazards Not Otherwise Classified” to appear below the exclamation mark pictogram on a label. Canada required the signal word “Danger” for PHNOCs and HHNOCs, which is neither  associated with other hazard categories requiring an exclamation mark pictogram nor associated with any physical hazards.

The joint guidance provides an example of a label that is acceptable both in the US and Canada as an example:

3 OSHA’s HCS does not require hazard or precautionary statements for HNOCs.

Recommended Action Items:

  • Review your company’s inventory of products, and determine if any products are classified as hazards not otherwise classified both in the US and Canada
  • Amend current labels accordingly.

References

Joint OSHA/Health Canada Comparison of Labelling Requirements for Hazardous Products: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/RCC_Deliverable_Label_Comparison.pdf

Joint OSHA/Health Canada Guidance on Regulatory Processes for Hazardous Products in the Workplace: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/HCS-HC_Regulatory_Process_Comparison.pdf

Joint OSHA/Health Canada Guidance on Labeling Pictogram for Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC), Physical Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (PHNOC) and Health Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (HHNOC): https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/Pictogram_HNOC_PHNOC_and_HHNOC_HC.pdf

Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012): https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-02-079.pdf

Clarifications to CPL 02-02-079, Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012): https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2016-09-21

Keywords

HazCom 2012, HPR, Hazards Not Otherwise Classified, HNOC, PHNOC, HHNOC


Never Miss an Update

UL’s global Regulatory Assurance Team contains more than 50 regulatory analysts worldwide, serving customers in six continents, with multi-lingual support in more than 30 languages. Our team can help you navigate the complex, ever changing regulatory landscape to understand and execute your compliance obligations.

For all of the latest regulatory news and the most important industry updates, sign up for our monthly Regulatory Round-Up Newsletter.



DISCLAIMER

The views, opinions and technical analyses presented here are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of UL LLC. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior authorization from UL. While the editors of this site may verify the accuracy of its content from time to time, we assume no responsibility for errors made by the author, editorial staff or any other contributor.