May. 18th, 2016
On March 20, 2012, OSHA issued the Hazard Communication Standard Final Rule (HCS 2012), one of the most significant regulatory changes to affect workplace health and safety practices in years. In the U.S., over five million workplaces and 40 million workers are expected to be impacted by this regulatory change.
The need for reform in HazCom regulations became clear as violations of the HCS made their way to the top ten list of OSHA violations every year. To fulfill this need for change, OSHA built on the existing HCS by adopting the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).
Updates and Benefits
Significant changes to the HCS:
1. Update Hazard classification requirement
2. Streamline labeling requirements
3. Use specified Safety Data Sheet format
4. Provide employees with necessary information and training
Benefits of adopting the GHS:
1. Reduces confusion and increases comprehension of hazards
2. Improves risk management
3. Facilitates training
To further assist with GHS compliance, OSHA’s Fact Sheet provides details of the training requirements. Please note the final deadline of the 36-month GHS transition period is June 1, 2016:
- December 1, 2013: Employers must train workers on the new label elements and SDS format
- June 1, 2015: Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must copy with all modified provisions of the final rule
- December 1, 2015: Distributors may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old system until December 1, 2015
- June 1, 2016: Employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs as necessary and provide additional worker training for newly identified physical and health hazards
Please reference the OSHA website for additional information.