Tuesday, May 14, 2013

OSHA Brief: Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms Part 6

Workplace Labels

OSHA has not changed the general requirements for workplace labeling. Employers have the option to create their own workplace labels. They can either provide all of the required information that is on the
label from the chemical manufacturer or, the product identifier and words, pictures, symbols or a combination thereof, which in combination with other information immediately available to employees, provide specific information regarding the hazards of the chemicals.

If an employer has an in-plant or workplace system of labeling that meets the requirements of HazCom 1994, the employer may continue to use this system in the workplace as long as this system, in conjunction with other information immediately available to the employees, provides the employees with the information on all of the health and physical hazards of the hazardous chemical. This workplace labeling system may include signs, placards, process sheets, batch tickets, operating procedures, or other such written materials to identify hazardous chemicals. Any of these labeling methods or a combination thereof may be used instead of a label from the manufacturer, importer or distributer as long as the employees have immediate access to
all of the information about the hazards of the chemical. Workplace labels must be in English. Other languages may be added to the label if applicable.

If the employer chooses to use the pictograms that appear in Appendix C on the workplace (or in-plant) labels, these pictograms may have a black border, rather than a red border.

Employers may use additional instructional symbols that are not included in OSHA’s HCS pictograms on the workplace labels. An example of an instructional pictogram is a person with goggles, denoting that goggles
must be worn while handling the given chemical. Including both types of pictograms on workplace labels is acceptable. The same is true if the employer wants to list environmental pictograms or PPE pictograms from the HMIS to identify protective measures for those handling the chemical.

Employers may continue to use rating systems such as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) diamonds or HMIS requirements for workplace labels as long as they are consistent with the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard and the employees have immediate access to the specific hazard information as discussed above. An employer using NFPA or HMIS labeling must, through training, ensure that its employees are fully aware of the hazards of the chemicals used.

If an employer transfers hazardous chemicals from a labeled container to a portable container that is only intended for immediate use by the employee who performs the transfer, no labels are required for the  portable container.

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