Compliance Regulations and New OSHA Hazard Communication Standards
OSHA has strategically revised their hazard communication standards to correlate with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). OSHA’s new hazard communication standards go into effect December 31, 2013, requiring workers and officials to be trained on these standards.
The new hazard communication standards (HCS) is OSHA’s method of committing to employees safety. The revised standards are made to ensure the safety of individuals who manufacture, import, handle, store or come in contact with hazardous chemicals. Employees must be properly trained on how to handle and store hazardous chemicals. Workplaces must clearly display safety data sheets (SDS) to inform bystanders or customers of potential dangerous with each chemical being stored.
The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is a standardized system, used internationally, for classifying hazardous substances. This system has been analyzed by chemical industry experts across the globe, including OSHA officials.
New OSHA Hazard Communication Standards – Streamlined Compliance
What is new about the OSHA hazard communication standards? Formatting, regarding labels and safety data sheets are now required to be standardized. Standardized information includes hazard classification, hazard labels, and safety data sheets.
- Hazard Classification: is the information of what dangers or hazards a specific chemical substance can cause, including the chemical’s class and category. This hazard classification will be standardized across all chemical substances.
- Hazard Labels: The new OSHA hazard communication standards require labels to contain a pictogram which shall illustrate the specific hazard that the chemical is associated with, verbiage that assigns a hazardous class and category to each chemical, a statement that demonstrates how the chemical should be handled, and specific words that classify the level of severity that the hazard contains.
- Safety Data Sheets: The new formatting of these sheets will follow a standardized 16 section design, illustrating the chemical’s information.
Compliance with the new OSHA Hazard Communication Standards
Employees and officials must be trained, on the new GHS label and safety data sheet formats, no later than December 1, 2013. Compliance with employers and distributors, regarding the GHS standards, is not fully required until June 1, 2015 and it does not become effective until December 1, 2015.
With the new OSHA hazard communication standards in place, OSHA is shifting the perception of “knowing” to “understanding” possible hazards associated with chemicals. New OSHA hazard communication standards are meant to provide a streamlined knowledge of chemicals, their classifications, and most importantly their hazards.