In March of 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized the revised version of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The HCS is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.
Two of the most significant changes to the HCS involve Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and labeling elements. The new standardized SDSs will replace the common Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). According to OSHA, “the new label elements and SDS requirements will improve worker understanding of the hazards associated with the chemicals in their workplace”.
OSHA is phasing in the new program with specific requirements over the next few years as shown in the table below:
|Effective Completion Date||Requirements||Who|
|December 1, 2013||Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format.||Employers|
|June 1, 2015December 1, 2015||Compliance with all modified provisions of this final rule, except:The Distributor shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a GHS label||Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers|
|June 1, 2016||Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.||Employers|
|Transition Period to the effective completion dates noted above||May comply with either 29 CFR 1910.1200 (the final standard), or the current standard, or both||Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers|
By December 1, 2013, employees must be trained on the new label elements and the SDS format. OSHA states that “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. To ensure employees have the information they need to better protect themselves from chemical hazards in the workplace during the transition period, it is critical that employees understand the new label and SDS formats”.
This training must be completed in manner that the employees can understand. EES is available to conduct training sessions on the new label elements and SDS format to ensure that your facility complies with the HCS. Contact EES with any further questions or to set up a training session.