Today, OSHA released the changes to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) that will align with the Global Harmonized System (GHS). These changes will provide one set of criteria for classifying materials. The new standard specifies hazard communication information on product labels and safety data sheet.
Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard are as follows:
- Hazard classification: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. Hazard classification under the new, updated standard provides specific criteria to address health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures.
- Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category. Sample label can be found here:
- Safety Data Sheets (SDS): The new format requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information. Sections 12-16 are non-mandatory sections. Break down of the information by section can be found here.
- Information and training: To facilitate understanding of the new system, the new standard requires that workers be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format, in addition to the current training requirements.
Compliance Date to Remember:
December 1, 2013 – Employees must be trained on the new label including the signal word, pictogram, hazard and precautionary statements as well as the Safety Data Sheets format.
June 1, 2015 – Compliance with all modified provisions, except:
December 1, 2015 – Distributors may ship products labeled under the old system until this date.
June 1, 2016 – Labeling and hazard communication programs must be updated to comply with the new standard and employees trained on additional hazards found under the new standard.
Transition Period – use of the old HSC, the new HCS or a mixture of both standards are allowed during the transition.
Compliance with Hazardous Materials Regulations
Classification of products found in the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations has already been modified to align with the GHS. Now, OSHA and DOT classification with be harmonized as well.
The final rule will be published on March 26, 2012 but a copy is available here. At the time of this posting Appendix B – F links were not working. Additional information about HCS and GHS can be found here.
If you need assistance with updating labeling, Haz Com programs, Safety Data Sheets or training of your employees, please contact Ken or Christine at (704) 573-0955 and Safety Specialists will be happy to assist you.