MSHA says OSHA standard meets its own requirements

By |  August 19, 2013

MSHA issued a clarification that mine operators who meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) hazard communication standard are in compliance with MSHA’s hazard communication standard.

According to an MSHA press release, OSHA recently published an update to its Hazard Communication Standard, incorporating the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Major changes to OSHA’s HazCom standard include a new system of classifying types and degrees of hazards, changes to labeling requirements and changes to the Safety Data Sheet, previously called the Material Safety Data Sheet.

“We recognize that many mines already receive safety data sheets and labels for hazardous chemicals that are developed in accordance with OSHA’s revised standard,” says Joe Main, MSHA’s assistant secretary of labor. “We also recognize that mine operators may be required to develop safety data sheets and labels compliant with OSHA’s standard in order to transport, import or export hazardous chemicals because of the transition to the global classification and labeling system. This compatibility is a win-win.”

Although OSHA’s HazCom standard is compatible with MSHA’s, some aspects of OSHA’s hazard classification such as storage requirements for hazardous chemicals may not be compatible with other existing MSHA standards. Under MSHA’s HazCom standard, operators are required to train miners on the contents of the mine’s HazCom program. Operators must describe in their written HazCom programs the HazCom practices in place at the mine, including practices for hazard determination, labels and safety data sheets. For this reason, if operators choose to incorporate OSHA’s updated HazCom rule, they also must update their written HazCom programs and conduct miner training on the new system.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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