Hazard Communications Update Required for Employers

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In 2012, OSHA began a program to align the old Hazard Communications Standard (HCS) with the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/  This new system to be implemented over the next several years, includes updated methods to communicate hazards on product labels and safety data sheets using an international standard.  

The most notable changes include:
•        Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
•        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 (SDS): Will now have a specified 16-section format.
•        Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Implementation of the GHS program is nearly complete.  As of June 1, 2016 all employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.  To be compliant with the new regulations, employers should be sure to:

•        Update their written Hazard Communication Program – The SPFA Model Written Safety Program, available to SPFA members only, includes an appendix that provides an example of a GHS compliant program.
•        Provide Training on the new GHS Program – SPFA dedicated a  Foam-it-Right® Safety Webinar on GHS in 2015.  Recordings of this informational webinar are available from the SPFA Members Only website.
•        Replace all MSDS with SDS –Employers should be sure they are using chemicals with GHS labeling and have the new SDS readily available to all employees.  Every chemical supplier or distributor was required to implement  new labeling and SDS by June 1, 2015.  Employers should contact their chemical supplier obtain the new product SDS.  
 

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