Safety and OSHA News

6 months until OSHA training deadline for hazard communication

Is your company in compliance with OSHA’s new Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) that requires certain employee training to be completed this year?

By Dec. 1, 2013, more than five million U.S. businesses must train about 43 million employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format included in the update of OSHA’s HCS to comply with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

Why does this hazcom training have to be completed this year if other parts of the HCS update don’t kick in until 2015? It’s because workplaces are already receiving products with the new types of labels and SDSs. So employees need to know now how to use the new documentation. (Until the new standard takes effect in 2015, companies can use either old labeling and SDSs or the new versions and be in compliance either way.)

Under GHS, chemical labels will include a signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements may also be included.

SDSs will now have a 16-section format.The 16 sections range from identification of the chemical to first-aid to disposal considerations.

There are nine pictograms required in the revised HCS — eight are mandatory:

  • health hazard (carcinogen, mutagenicity, reproductive toxicity, respiratory sensitizer, target organ toxicity, aspiration toxicity)
  • flame (flammables, pyrophorics, self-heating, emits flammable gas, self-reactives, organic peroxides)
  • exclamation mark (skin and eye irritant, skin sensitizer, acute toxicity, narcotic effects, respiratory tract irritant, hazardous to ozone layer)
  • gas cylinder (gases under pressure)
  • corrosion (skin corrosion/burns, eye damage, corrosive to metals)
  • exploding bomb (explosives, self-reactives, organic peroxides)
  • flame over circle (oxidizers)
  • skull and crossbones (acute toxicity — possibly fatal), and
  • environment (aquatic toxicity — non-mandatory).

Under GHS, the new pictograms must have red borders.

As of Dec. 31, 2015, distributors are not allowed to ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a GHS label.

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