OSHA is changing its Hazard Communication Standard, and employers are required to
GHS also provides rules on how employees are educated about chemical hazards. According to OSHA, changes to the standard will "prevent over 500 workplace injuries and illnesses and 43 fatalities annually" and will save American businesses more than $475 million in productivity improvements.
Employers need to label any container that does not already have a label. Containers directly purchased from the manufacturer or distributor now will include the required labels by law.
The new OSHA hazard communication standard says that labels for hazardous chemicals must contain the following:
The OSHA hazard communication standard pictograms do not replace the diamond-shaped labels required by the U.S. Department of Transportation for shipping chemicals.
Next, material safety data sheets (MSDS) now will be referred to as safety data sheets (SDS). The Hazard Communication Standard mandates that employers maintain a book of data sheets for all hazardous chemicals and make them available to employees. This provision is included to ensure employees are aware of the chemicals to which they are exposed.
Currently, there are a number of different formats for safety data sheets. With the adoption of the GHS into the Hazard Communication Standard, however, employers will move to a single format which features 16 sections in a strict order.
These new data sheets should be kept in a separate book, and, as always, one should be on file for all chemicals in your inventory. An online system for this can also be used. Employees will need to be trained on the new safety data sheets and their sections (as well as any online or in-house storage system) by the December 1, 2013, compliance date.
Employers must train employees on the new label elements by December 1, 2013. By June 1, 2015, employers must meet all final modifications to the OSHA hazard communication standard. Distributors may ship chemicals labeled by manufacturers under the old rules until December 1, 2015.
By June 1, 2016, employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication as necessary and provide additional employee training for new health hazards.
How are you staying up to date on OSHA compliance? What are your training strategies? Please share in comments!