Monday, 30 April 2012 22:21

OSHA Publishes Final Rule on Labeling Chemicals

In the Federal Register this week, OSHA published its final rule aligning its Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard with the Global Harmonization System for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS). The rule, known as HazCom 2012 or the workers’ “Right-to-Understand” rule, substantially changes OSHA’s current standard and affects over 40 million employees at more than 5 million facilities nationwide. Employers must train all employees on the new HazCom standard before December 1, 2013.

Now that the final rule has been published, hazard communication procedures must change. Facilities must apply new chemical classification criteria, replace ALL MSDSs with new Safety Data Sheets, update or replace chemical labels, and train employees on the new standard. To help industry professionals understand the changes they must make, Lion Technology will offer the Preparing for OSHA’s New GHS Rule Web Seminar monthly through the end of the year.

The web seminar will be offered next on April 19, followed by sessions on May 15, June 21, July 17, August 16, September 25, October 23, November 15, and December 18.

Key topics include the new GHS hazard classification and chemical labeling system, an overview of new Safety Data Sheets, and meeting training and implementation deadlines. Attendees will learn strategies for preparing facilities and meeting relevant compliance requirements. More information about the live web seminar is available here: http://www.lion.com/Preparing-for-OSHAs-New-GHS-Rule.

OSHA introduced its first Hazard Communication standard in 1983, as the workers’ “right-to-know” rule. Before this, no requirement existed for employers to notify their workers of the dangers posed by the hazardous materials handled in their workplace. While the original standard was an important development, OSHA now believes it provided too much flexibility, leading to problems for both employees and employers. Hazard labels and Safety Data Sheets were formatted inconsistently and sometimes included inaccurate information, making it particularly difficult and burdensome for small employers to comply with the requirements.

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