U.S., Canada Agree on Common Labeling of Chemicals

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Health Canada, through the Regulatory Cooperation Council, have jointly developed a 2016-2017 Workplace Chemicals Work Plan. The purpose of the work plan is to ensure that current and future requirements for classifying and communicating the hazards of workplace chemicals will be acceptable in the United States and Canada without reducing worker safety.

The work plan involves activities that support:

  • Developing materials to assist stakeholders with implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) and understanding the interpretation of technical issues and requirements in Canada and the U.S.;
  • Coordinating opinions on issues that arise from international discussions on the GHS; and
  • Maintaining alignment between the U.S. and Canadian requirements for implementing the GHS when revisions are made.

“This plan is part of ongoing efforts between OSHA and Health Canada to reduce regulatory barriers between U.S. and Canadian systems responsible for chemical safety and provide concise information to protect workers exposed to hazardous chemicals,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels.

OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Canada’s Department of Health in 2013. The goal of the MOU is to devise a system, accepted by both countries, that allows the use of one label and one safety data sheet.

OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard with the GHS in March 2012 to provide a common, understandable approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Web page includes links to the standard, frequently asked questions and guidance materials.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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