The deadline for chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers to begin complying with OSHA’s new hazard communication standard was June 1, 2015.
In 2012, OSHA updated the old hazard communication standard to bring it into compliance with the global standard for chemical product labeling. The new standard still requires that chemical manufacturers and importers evaluate the chemicals they produce and provide hazard information in the form of container labels and safety data sheets. However, it also provides an updated set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health hazards. The new standard also requires that chemical manufacturers and importers use labels that include a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard category. In addition, safety data sheets must follow a new format with sixteen sections, ensuring certain information is conveyed to employees. Finally, the new standard required employees to be trained in the new label elements and safety data sheet formats by December 1, 2013.
Employers should ensure they have updated their existing hazard communication programs and provided employees with training on the new label elements and safety data sheets. Chemical manufacturers and importers should make sure they have reviewed the new standard carefully, classified their chemicals according to the new criteria, and updated their labels safety data sheets.