How Will OSHA’s Adoption of the GHS Affect HazCom Training Programs?
Posted on 5/1/2012 by James Griffin
On March 26, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) completed a years-long effort to incorporate the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Chemical Classification and Labeling into the Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard. In addition to many changes to hazard criteria, this rule significantly revises labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). The new regulations also call for complete retraining across the board.
The Hazard Communication Standard
Under HazCom, employers must ensure that their employees are made aware of all hazardous chemicals in the workplace, so that they can take reasonable precautions to protect themselves. Typically, HazCom requires a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) on file for each hazardous chemical in the workplace and a warning label on every container of hazardous chemicals. [29 CFR 1910.1200(a)(1)]
As part of the GHS revisions, new hazards were added to the HazCom Standard, such as simple asphyxiants, pyrophoric gases, combustible dusts, and hazards not otherwise classified (HNOC). [29 CFR 1910.1200(h)(3)(ii)]
The HazCom Standard also requires employers to train employees to understand the hazards represented by SDSs and labels. [29 CFR 1910.1200(h)(1)] Therefore, as part of the GHS initiative, OSHA is calling for employers to retrain all employees so that they understand the new system.
New Rules, New Training
Because the new regulation is a major overhaul of the HazCom Standard, all employees must be trained on the new rules by December 1, 2013. [29 CFR 1910.1200(j)(1)] While still part of a lengthy phase-in period, this deadline is sooner than OSHA originally proposed. Much of this training will focus on identifying and understanding the new symbols on hazard labels and the new systematic Safety Data Sheets.
Chemical manufacturers must update the Safety Data Sheets and hazard labels for their products by June 1, 2016. This is also the deadline for employers to address any newly identified workplace chemical hazards in their training plans. [29 CFR 1910.1200(j)(3)]
OSHA encourages employers to begin using the GHS HazCom Standard as soon as practicable, in order to fully transition to the new system before the December 1, 2013 deadline.
To help employers nationwide meet this training deadline and prepare their facilities for the coming changes, Lion offers a Hazard Communication Online Course. This 2-hour online course reflects OSHA adoption of the GHS, including training on new classification criteria, labeling standards, reading and understanding the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format, recognizing pictograms, and understanding newly regulated hazards like combustible dust and “hazards not-otherwise-classified.”