December 1st HazCom Training Deadline
The US Hazard Communication (HazCom) standard is going global.
In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised federal regulations to align them with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). That means we’re going to start seeing new container labels for hazardous chemicals and new Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), which were formally known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).
The revised rules will standardize the information available to employees about the dangerous substances that they may encounter in their workplace. OSHA estimates that the revised HazCom standard will prevent 43 fatalities and 585 injuries and illnesses annually. The new rules must be fully implemented by June 2016.
As part of the transition, OSHA has mandated training for all employees who may be exposed to hazardous materials by December 1, 2013. The training must cover the new GHS labels, pictograms, and SDSs. “This training is needed early in the transition process since workers are already beginning to see the new labels and SDSs on the chemicals in their workplace,” says OSHA.
For example, employees must be trained about GHS-compliant labels and the nine international Hazard Communication Pictograms. The training must also describe GHS-compliant Safety Data Sheets, including:
- the type of information found in each of the 16 sections
- how the information on the SDS is related to that on the container labels
- how an employee should use the SDSs and container labels
- a general explanation of how the elements work together on a label