OSHA hazard communication standard update effective July 19

July 3, 2024

Overview of the OSHA hazard communication standard update

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will implement a major update to its Hazard Communication Standard on Friday, July 19.

As reported by the U.S. Fire Administration, this update aims to enhance the clarity and quality of information on labels, safety data sheets, and small packaging to help workers and first responders react more efficiently in emergencies.

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is based on the principle that chemicals in the workplace should carry clear labels and easy-to-understand information about their hazards.

This update will improve the amount and quality of information provided, ensuring chemical safety by making hazard details accessible and comprehensible to workers.

About the Hazard Communication Standard

OSHA’s HCS mandates that chemical manufacturers and importers evaluate the hazards of their chemicals and prepare labels and safety data sheets to communicate this information to their customers.

Employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets available for their workers and must train them in proper handling procedures.

The standard ensures that the identities and hazards of workplace chemicals are available and understandable to workers.

This systematic approach helps in preventing chemical-related accidents and health issues by providing necessary information and training to those exposed to hazardous chemicals.

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard

The updated Hazard Communication Standard introduces several key changes to enhance workplace safety.

The hazard classification criteria now provide specific guidelines for classifying health and physical hazards, as well as mixtures.

Chemical manufacturers and importers must include a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category on their labels.

Additionally, precautionary statements are required to be included.

Safety Data Sheets will adopt a 16-section format, ensuring consistency and thoroughness in the information provided.

Employers are also required to train workers on the new label elements and the updated safety data sheets format to improve recognition and understanding of chemical hazards.

This training is crucial for ensuring that workers can effectively identify and manage hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

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