May 2, 2013

Changes to OSHA's Hazard Communications Policy

Q: I have heard that OSHA is changing its Hazard Communications Policy to align itself with the GHS of Labeling. What does this mean?

A: Beginning in 2015, OSHA's Hazard Communications Policy will align with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). The GHS is an international approach to hazard communication and is based on major existing systems around the world, including OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard and the chemical classification and labeling systems of other US agencies.

The GHS provides criteria for health, physical, and environmental hazards of chemicals. It also includes standardized label elements that are assigned to these hazard classes and categories, and provide the appropriate signal words, pictogram's, and hazard and precautionary statements to convey the hazards to users. A standardized order of information for safety data sheets is also provided. OSHA Compliance Officers are responsible to ensure the necessary information is included and maintained in the practice Hazard Communication Plan.

Compliance with the updated system is Summer of 2015; however, OSHA has stated that covered entities must train staff on the new GHS by December 1, 2013.

Training for staff must be completed by December 1, 2013 because many manufactures are beginning to use the updated labels, hazard statements, pictogram's, and signal words. It is essential that staff become familiar with them, and how to understand the information correctly.

This Summer, Compliance PhD will be posting a new Hazard Communications Training. This training will cover:
  • Conversion to the Globally Harmonized System
  • Hazardous Chemicals List
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) "Formally known as MSDS"
  • Labeling of Hazardous Chemicals
  • Pictograms
  • Product Identifiers
  • Signal Words
  • Hazard Statements
  • Precautionary Statements
  • Using Labels
Current Members of Compliance PhD will be able to register staff for this new training at "no-cost."

If you have questions about OSHA's transition to the new GHS system, or would like more information about Compliance PhD and the online training services we provide, please contact us.