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OSHA is Rolling Out the US GHS Final Rule

OSHA revises Hazard Communication Standard to align it with the UN GHS system

 

21 March 2012

 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nation’s global chemical labelling system. The revised standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the US and imported from abroad.

 

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard requires the development and dissemination of such information:

 

  • Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
  • All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

 

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard include hazard classification, revised label content, a specified 16-section safety data sheet, and information & training updates.

 

  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

 

Compared with its counterpart, the EU-wide Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation which takes effect as of 1 June 2015, OSHA’s new standard will be fully implemented by the deadline of 1 June 2016. During the transition period to the effective completion dates noted in the standard, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers may comply with either 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.1200 (the final standard), the current standard or both.

 

The final OSHA GHS rule will be published in the March 26th Federal Register. OSHA estimates that the updated standard could help prevent about 43 deaths and result in approximately $ 475.2 million in enhanced productivity for American businesses each year.

 

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