The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard. When fully implemented, the new HazCom Standard will more closely resemble the Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS), which is currently used in most other parts of the world and in some industries and agencies in the US.
While the new law will slowly be implemented through a series of rolling deadlines (the last of which will occur on June 1, 2016), the first deadline – and the deadline that will likely affect the most employers – is right around the corner.
By December 1, 2013, employee training will need to include components on reading the new labels, warnings and safety data sheets that will eventually take over the old labels and warnings and will replace the current material safety data sheets (MSDSs).
Until an implementation date occurs, employers may use a plan that meets either the old or the new standard.
The HazCom Standard is not limited to regulating only chemicals that are extremely hazardous and numerous so that only the most chemical-oriented companies have to follow this regulation. In fact, most places of business have some materials that are regulated by this standard. For this reason, it is important to look at your current hazard communication plan and make sure it is at least following the old standard and consider making any possible updates now.
While some deadlines, such as the ones for labels and SDSs, will mostly affect the chemical manufacturer, the training deadline will affect most employers. That is why it is extremely important to make sure you are fully prepared before December 1.
XpertHR has a wealth of information that can help you meet this deadline:
- Catch up with your HazCom literature.
- Find out more about SDSs and MSDSs.
- Learn how to develop a hazard communication plan.
- Plus, so much more.
Being prepared and in compliance with this law not only will help employers steer clear of OSHA citations, which can be costly and time consuming, but also will help keep employees safe, which should be the end goal in any event.