The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employees who have potential occupational exposure to chemicals to receive training on the new hazard communication (hazcom) guidelines. Employees must be trained on the new label pictograms and safety data sheets by December 1st, 2013.
In March 2012, OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS is an international approach to hazard communication, negotiated by hazcom experts from many different countries, international organizations, and stakeholder groups. It provides unified classification criteria for chemical health, physical, and environmental hazards, and includes standardized label elements and consistent format for safety data sheets.
The revisions affect mostly chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers, but do introduce some new requirements for employers. The major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard require a new hazard classification system for chemicals, new labeling of chemical containers, standard formatting for safety data sheets (SDS – previously called material safety data sheets), and updated employee information and training.
The new standard requires that workers be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format. Dentists who utilize chemicals in their place of business have until that time to train dental on the new label and SDS requirements. Additionally, dentists have until June 1, 2016 to update chemical labeling and written hazcom plan onsite, and to provide additional employee training as needed to implement the new requirements.
For our OSHA Review Subscribers: Information and training on the new hazard communication requirements can be found in the March/April 2013 issue of OSHA Review, in Section VI of your OSHA Review binder.
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