Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Hazard Communication Standard Q & A: Part 3

Q. Why must training be conducted prior to the compliance effective date?

A. OSHA is requiring that employees are trained on the new label elements (i.e., pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and signal words) and SDS format by December 1, 2013, while full compliance with the final rule will begin in 2015.  OSHA believes that American workplaces will soon begin to receive labels and SDSs that are consistent with the GHS, since many American and foreign chemical manufacturers have already begun to produce HazCom 2012/GHS-compliant labels and SDSs.  It is important to ensure that when employees begin to see the new labels and SDSs in their workplaces, they will be familiar with them, understand how to use them, and access the information effectively.  For more information,
http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/effectivedates.html

Q. Wat are the major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard?

A. The three major areas of change are in hazard classification, labels, and safety data sheets.
  • Hazard classification: The definitions of hazard have been changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixture. These specific criteria will help to ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent across manufacturers, and that labels and safety data sheets are more accurate as a result.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category.  Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
The GHS does not inlcude harmonized training provisions, but recognizes that training is essential to an effective hazard communication approach.  The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that workers be re-trained within two years of the publication of the final rule to facilitate recognition and understanding of the new labels and safety data sheets.

For a side-by-side comparison of the current HCS and the final revised HCS, National Safety Compliance has the #OSHA-HCS Hazard Communication Standard which includes this comparison.

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