Full Implementation of Hazard Communication Standard Expected in ’16

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OSHA Issues Hazard Communication Directive

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) published a long-awaited directive on the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), CPL 02-02-079. The directive is intended to provide inspection and enforcement guidance to compliance officers regarding the final HCS published in March 2012. However, the directive also serves as a valuable tool to employers implementing the requirements on the revised HCS. The 124-page directive provides guidance in the areas of Hazard Classification, Labels, Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and Employee Training. The extensive directive covers each aspect of the standardÂ’s requirements and provides compliance officers with a road map for citations where employers are found to be in violation of the requirements. Click here for a copy of the directive.

Three years ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aligned its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

Once fully implemented in 2016, OSHA expects the changes will impact over five million facilities and over 40 million workers.

HazCom 2012 provides a common approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets (SDS). The definitions of hazard were changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards and for the classification of mixtures.

Chemical manufacturers and importers now are required to provide a harmonized label that has six standardized elements for classified hazards, including product identifier, manufacturer contact information, hazard pictograms, signal word (DANGER or WARNING), hazard statements and precautionary statements.

SDSs, previously known as Material Safety Data Sheets, remain the backbone of HCS. Employers must ensure they are readily accessible to employees. The major change here is a required, standardized 16-section format, which include identification; hazard(s) identification; composition/ingredient information; first-aid measures; firefighting measures; accidental release measures; handling and storage; exposure control/personal protection; physical and chemical properties; stability and reactivity; toxicological information; ecological information; disposal considerations; transport information; regulatory information; and other information.

To be compliant, an SDS needs all 16 sections; however, OSHA will not enforce sections 12-15, which fall outside its jurisdiction.

For more information on complying with the standards, visit www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom.