NASF members should be ready to comply with new training and other requirements under OSHA’s implementation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). The deadline for the first round of regulations fell on Dec. 1, 2013.
The GHS is an approach for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals. OSHA is now implementing the framework through its revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), first published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2012. The new rule aims for a more logical approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazards on labels and safety data sheets. Companies that regularly handle, store and use hazardous chemicals must periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard. Employees must be trained, as well.
What GHS Means to You
The new rules contain a new set of terminology for communicating potential chemical hazards in the workplace. Companies handling chemicals will need to replace old Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) with new Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and update labels to meet GHS requirements, including new pictograms. In addition, businesses will need to train employees to read the new SDSs and labels.
What are the Regulatory Deadlines?
By Dec. 1, 2013, businesses must train employees regarding hazards of chemicals or categories of chemicals and the new label elements and SDS format.
By June 1, 2015, all labels and SDSs must be updated by chemical manufacturers, distributors or importers. Distributors have an additional six months to distribute containers with manufacturers’ labels.
By June 1, 2106, employers must update Hazard Communication programs and signs to comply with the new GHS requirements.
More Information from NASF and OSHA
NASF is preparing more information to assist companies with compliance. In the meantime, background and guidance on complying with the GHS and the hazard communication standard are available on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.