Standardize Your Hazard Communication Practices

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to keep your entire team safe at work, so you need to take this very seriously. Nothing is more important than making sure each and every person leaves your worksite happy and healthy — not deadlines, money, or any other factors.

The phase-in period for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new Hazard Communication Standard came to an end on June 1, 2016, meaning all employers, chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors should be in compliance with the final rule.

Created to align OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), the new system provides a standard for classifying chemicals by their health and physical hazards, and conveys hazard communication standards for labeling and safety data sheets. Previously, chemical manufacturers were allowed choose their own format for designating hazard information on labels and material safety data sheets, which could be very confusing.

OSHA Changes to Hazard Communication Standard

A total of 43 million workers at five million U.S. workplaces are impacted by this new OSHA regulation, which is expected to prevent more than 500 workplace injuries and illness and 43 deaths per year. The four biggest changes implemented include:

  • Hazard Classification. While chemical manufacturers were previously required to disclose the hazards of chemicals they produce or import, the new standards force them to offer specific details on health and physical threats — in addition to revealing the classification of chemical mixtures.
  • Labels. Chemical manufacturers and importers are now required to produce a label featuring a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for every known hazard class and category.
  • Safety Data Sheets. OSHA issued a new format for safety data sheets that mandates the completion of 16 specific sections.
  • Information and Training. OSHA required all workers to be trained on the new system by Dec. 1, 2013.

If for some reason your company hasn’t already complied with this new OSHA rule by standardizing your hazard communication practices, stop everything and make this an immediate priority.

The MAC Incorporated blog is your resource for keeping up with OSHA standards. As a niche-based recruiting and staffing firm specializing in the placement of engineering, maintenance, and operations management professionals, we want everyone to enjoy a safe and healthy work environment. Contact us today to learn how we can assist your organization!