Increased safety, productivity expected from revised standard
The updated standard will be aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. In addition to creating safer workplaces, the agency said it will make it easier for employers to compete in the global marketplace.
The new standard will "improve the quality, consistency, and clarity of hazard information that workers receive," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
Calling exposure to hazardous chemicals, one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today, OSHA officials said the revised standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards. It also will establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the U.S. and those imported.
Officials expect the revised standard to prevent an estimated 43 deaths and 585 injuries and illnesses annually and reduce trade barriers.
The revised standard will be implemented fully in 2016. During the transition period, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers may comply with the final standard, the current standard, or both.
"OSHA's 1983 Hazard Communication Standard gave workers the right to know," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "As one participant expressed during our rulemaking process, this update will give them the right to understand as well."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 7, 2012
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