To find out what’s in OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), you can read this 280-word story or the 858 pages that appeared in the Federal Register. We’ll also give you a link to the FR notice just in case.
Those in occupational safety knew this one was coming.
Europe’s adoption of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) made U.S. acceptance inevitable.
Chemical manufacturers and importers still have to evaluate the chemicals they produce or import and provide information to employers and workers via labels on containers and material safety data sheets (MSDSs). Now there will be a single set of criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards along with uniform formats for MSDSs and container labels.
OSHA estimates more than 43 million workers will be affected.
The major changes to the HCS:
- Labels must include a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement and precautionary statement
- The new format for MSDSs requires 16 specific sections, and
- The new standard requires workers be trained by Dec. 1, 2013 on the new labels and MSDS format, in addition to the current training requirements.
Products with old system labels may be shipped until Dec. 1, 2015. During the transition period, old and new style labels and MSDSs can be used.
OSHA did consider two alternatives to adopting the entire GHS: voluntary adoption within the existing HCS framework, and a limited adoption of specific GHS components. However, the agency concluded both alternatives would eliminate significant benefits of the new standard, namely that chemical information for workers would now be standardized.