OSHA Finalizes Hazard Communication Standard Updates

2016 brings the final implementation of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to become fully compliant with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals  (GHS).

The GHS is an internationally agreed upon system that:

  • Standardizes the classification of chemicals.
  • Educates workers on the hazards of the chemicals they are using.
  • Creates an easy way for all workers to identify the chemical hazards.

Hazardous chemicals are everywhere. As a part of the GHS, new standardized Safety Data Sheets (SDS) have replaced the old MSDS. Other requirements include standardized container labeling, signal words, and pictograms to help quickly identify chemical hazards.

Four Changes to the Hazard Communication Standard
Hazard Classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.

Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide standardized labels that include a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

Safety Data Sheets: Are standardized in 16 specific sections and must be uniform.

Information and Training: Employers are required to train workers on the new labels elements, safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding and the pictograms for quick identification of hazards.