OSHA's New HazCom Standard and Its Potential Impact on Tort Suits


Mackrell International's Regulatory SubGroup Presents: Regulatory Matters! May 2012 Newsletter: Vol. II, Issue I

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA"), almost a million hazardous chemicals are currently used in the U.S., and over 40 million employees are now potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals in over 5 million workplaces. To further address workplace injuries and illnesses related to chemical exposures, OSHA recently published a final rule modifying its Hazard Communication Standard ("HazCom") to largely conform to the United Nation's Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals ("GHS"). This "GHS Amendment" makes substantial changes to requirements governing how chemical manufacturers, employers, and other entities transmit hazard information to in-house and downstream employees. This newsletter: 1) provides a brief summary of HazCom and the GHS Amendment; 2) discusses the potential impact of the GHS Amendment on preemption of State tort claims; and 3) in the event there is no preemption, explores the extent to which the GHS will serve as a standard of care in tort suits.

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