OSHA Issues December 1 Employee Training Deadline for Elements of the Revised Hazard Communication Standard
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) last year. Two significant changes require the use of new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). According to OSHA, the new label elements and SDS requirements will improve worker understanding of the hazards associated with the chemicals in their workplace. The first compliance date of the revised HCS is December 1, 2013. By that date, OSHA expects companies to have trained their workers on the new label elements and the SDS format.
Specifically, employers must train employees on at least the following topics:
Type of information contained on the new chemical labels
How employees might use the labels in the workplace and how the elements work together on a label
General format of the new Safety Data Sheets and how the information on the label is related to the SDS
OSHA requires employers to present information in a manner and language that their employees can understand, and has provided several Fact Sheets, Briefs, and QuickCards to assist with training:
Visit OSHA’s Hazard Communication website (www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html) for more information. The remaining requirements of the HCS will be phased in over several years (December 1, 2013 to June 1, 2016).