Tuesday, May 7, 2013

OSHA Brief: Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms Part 5

It is important to note that the OSHA pictograms do not replace the diamondshaped labels that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires for the transport of chemicals, including chemical drums, chemical totes, tanks or other containers. Those labels must be on the external part of a shipped container and must meet the DOT requirements set forth in 49 CFR 172, Subpart E. If a label has a DOT transport
pictogram, Appendix C.2.3.3 states that the corresponding HCS pictogram shall not appear. However, DOT does not view the HCS pictogram as a conflict and for some international trade both pictograms may need to be present on the label. Therefore, OSHA intends to revise C.2.3.3. In the meantime, the agency will allow both DOT and HCS pictograms for the same hazard on a label. While the DOT diamond label is required for all hazardous chemicals on the outside shipping containers, chemicals in smaller containers
inside the larger shipped container do not require the DOT diamond but do require the OSHA pictograms.

Labels must be legible, in English, and prominently displayed. Other languages may be displayed in addition to English. Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors who become newly aware of any significant information regarding the hazards of a chemical must revise the label within six months.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers are responsible for maintaining the labels on the containers, including, but not limited to, tanks, totes, and drums. This means that labels must be maintained on chemicals in a manner which continues to be legible and the pertinent information (such as the hazards and directions for use) does not get defaced (i.e.,
fade, get washed off) or removed in any way.

The employer is not responsible for updating labels on shipped containers, even if the shipped containers are labeled under HazCom 1994. The employer must relabel items if the labels are removed or defaced. However, if the employer is aware of newly-identified hazards that are not disclosed on the label, the
employer must ensure that the workers are aware of the hazards as discussed below under workplace labels.

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