Training your staff on the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System must be completed by December 1, 2013. In March 2012, OSHA revised the Hazard Communication Standard to align with the vast majority of the international community regarding the labeling and classification of hazardous chemicals. Transition to this new system will be done in stages but fully operational by December 1, 2016. These changes will affect everyone from the end-user to the manufacturers and distributors. The following table shows the net benefits of OSHA’s updated Hazard Communication Standard.
Education on the label elements and requirements, and the proper use of labels in the workplace along with training on the new SDS 16 -section format are the specific areas to focus on to meet the compliance deadline. 4 of these 16 sections (12-15) on the new SDS format are considered “non-mandatory”, not regulated by OSHA but are required and overseen by other government agencies (EPA, DOT).
In addition to the GHS, a recent news release by OSHA on 10/24/13 describes two new resources designed to help employers keep their employees safer in the workplace. Each year thousands of workers die or become ill due to occupational exposure from hazardous chemicals.
The first resource helps eliminate the hazardous chemicals and/or find possibly safer alternatives. http://www.osha.gov/dsg/safer_chemicals/index.html.
The second resource gives the Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits (Annotated PELs)which are more protective workplace exposure limits than the mandatory PELs which have been in place since the establishment of OSHA. http://www.osha.gov/dsg/annotated-pels/index.html.
For further information on GHS training to meet the upcoming deadline, please join my webinar November 26, 2013.