Austin, TX (PRWEB) August 30, 2013
In March of 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). This revision aligns the HCS with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Full implementation will be complete by June 1, 2016, but about 40 million employees must be trained by December 1, 2013.
Employers should train employees who are exposed to hazardous chemicals, whether on a normal basis or in a foreseeable emergency. The Hazardous Communication Standard covers 650,000 chemicals used in the workplace, which means five million businesses ranging from chemical process operations to manufacturing or construction will be impacted. In office environments, employers should consider the chemicals their employees handle (an excerpt from OSHA Hazardous communication FAQ):
What is the application of HAZCOM to an office environment?
Office workers who encounter hazardous chemicals only in isolated instances are not covered by the rule. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers most office products (such as pens, pencils, adhesive tape) to be exempt under the provisions of the rule, either as articles or as consumer products. For example, Mrs. Schissler specifically mentioned copy toner. OSHA has previously stated that intermittent or occasional use of a copying machine does not result in coverage under the rule. However, if an employee handles the chemicals to service the machine, or operates it for long periods of time, then the program would have to be applied.
Regarding the GHS training deadline, “Don’t panic,” says Marie Athey, OHST, Director of EHS Product Management at 360training.com, “OSHA only wants employers to focus on the new labels and safety data sheets for the December 1st deadline.”
The new labels have six elements employees will need to understand. Out of the six elements, two are very important – signal word and pictogram. Each label can only have one signal word, which will be either “Danger” or “Warning.” The new labels will also use one or more of the nine pictograms. Another significant GHS change is the new safety data sheet (SDS) format. The new SDS will have a uniform format, including the section numbers, headings, and associated information.
To learn more about the GHS deadline, Marie Athey will be speaking about it on September 4, 2013. If you would like to attend, you can register here.
About Marie Athey, OHST
Marie Athey, OHST joined 360training.com in 2012 as the company's Director of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Product Management. She is a certified EHS professional with over 15 years of field experience in safety, training, and compliance. A few of her teaching credits include First Aid/CPR/AED, OSHA Outreach, and HAZWOPER training. Athey is also an esteemed speaker and presenter for risk management seminars and conferences for a wide range of industries.
360training.com is a privately-held, leading provider of online and classroom delivered training; learning and content management software; and enterprise compliance and risk management solutions. Since 1997, its course libraries have grown to include more than 15 verticals and 6,000 individual titles. More than 3,000,000 learners and over 1,000 corporate clients have chosen 360training.com to satisfy their training needs.