OSHA’s First “HazCom 2012” Deadline is Dec. 1, 2013. Are You Ready for GHS?

OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard last year to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (or GHS for short). The changes went into effect in May of 2012 and are the biggest to the HazCom standard since 1994. The first compliance deadline for employers in the U.S. is Dec. 1, 2013.

OSHA estimates there are over 43 million workers exposed to over 880,000 hazardous chemicals in over 5 million workplaces who are covered by the HazCom Standard. And the list of chemicals covered can include common workplace chemicals such as cleaning supplies and paint.

Every U.S. employer (public and private) with workers exposed to hazardous chemicals will be affected by the changes and will need to take steps to stay in compliance. For U.S. employers, the biggest changes in the workplace are to chemical labels and safety data sheets.

The Dec. 1 deadline is the date by which employees exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace must be trained on new GHS styled label elements and safety data sheet format. In addition to the Dec. 1 deadline, OSHA has additional deadlines for chemical manufacturers, distributors, and employers in 2015 and 2016.

GHS at the UN level is a global approach to defining and classifying chemical hazards and communicating those hazards to downstream users. The UN does not enforce GHS, instead each country that adopts GHS aligns its own hazcom standards to the system and is responsible for its enforcement. To date, over 65 countries have adopted or are in the process of adopting GHS – including the United States, Mexico and Canada.

You can learn more about OSHA’s adoption of GHS and how to comply through a free GHS Webinar hosted by MSDSonline.

You can read the revised Hazard Communication Standard in the Federal Register or by visiting OSHA’s HazCom 2012 Web page: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html

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