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US backs industry concern over South Korea’s Osha changes

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The US has backed its industry's concerns over major changes to South Korea’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (Osha).

In a 21 December communication to the WTO, the US called on South Korea's environment and employment and labour ministries (MOE and MoEL) to fully consider concerns raised by industry in letters sent last in March.

In one of those letters, obtained by Chemical Watch, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) argued that proposed changes to South Korea’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (Osha) – also known as the Industrial Safety and Health Act – will "breach" international norms on confidential business information (CBI) and introduce unnecessary duplicate registration under K-REACH.

The revisions to Osha are currently approaching the country’s legislature.

Although not confidential, the letter dated 19 March has not previously been made public. Among the ACC’s concerns, are:

  • the broad requirements for disclosure information on chemical components to the MoEL and in safety data sheets (SDS), which it says will undermine CBI and create onerous administrative burdens; and
  • the unnecessary duplication of new substance registrations in K-REACH and Osha that it says will create substantial extra work.

The letter argued that the amount of information required by the amendments undermines CBI protection and is in breach of the internationally established UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification.

In particular, the ACC’s letter took issue with the Osha amendment’s requirement for the disclosure of information on chemical components of mixtures. It said this goes against established standards under GHS, which maintain a focus on hazards. As end users do not extract components, the components themselves are not generally relevant to health and safety, it said.

The US statement to the WTO repeated many issues from a statement it made in June on how South Korea’s revised K-REACH is being implemented. 

More details available on CW+AsiaHub


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