The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has dramatically revised its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), according to the American Coatings Association.
The ACA says the Hazard Communication Standard will be fully implemented in 2016, though requirements for employee training on the new label elements and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) format has an effective completion date of Dec. 1, 2013.
OSHA’s standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards according to a new set of criteria, and establish new labels and SDS for all chemicals made in the United States that will closely align with products imported from abroad. One of the major changes to the standard is the employment of pictograms on chemical labels that alert workers to potential hazards, a change from the written-word warnings.
OSHA says the new standard will benefit workers by reducing confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, especially for low literacy workers.
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