Employers have until Dec. 1 to implement the first phase of training for their employees.
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. It is intended to improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. OSHA is phasing in the specific requirements between Dec. 1, 2013, and June 1, 2016.
Two of the major changes in the revised standard require the use of new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets. By December, employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.
Among the minimum required topics for the training are:
- The type of information the employee would expect to see on the new labels. They include product identifier, signal word, pictogram, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and contact information for the chemical manufacturer.
- How the employee might use the labels in the workplace. The labels include information such as proper storage of the chemicals and how to quickly locate information on first aid.
- How the elements work together on a label. When a chemical has multiple hazards, for example, there are different pictograms used.
- The format of the SDS such as the type of information found in the various sections.
OSHA has a variety of materials available for employers such as a label quickcard, pictogram quickcard, and SDS quickcard.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
April 29, 2013
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