Revised Haz Comm Standard Carries Potential Employer Fines

By Angela Gardner, Loss Prevention Specialist

By Angela Gardner, Loss Prevention Specialist

By now, you’ve probably got your holiday plans in place. Turkey: check. Sides: check. Desert: check. Seating for 25 in a dining room that comfortably accommodates five, maybe six: check.

What about employee training on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised hazard communication standard?

In March 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced changes to its hazard communication standard (HCS).  The HCS is the system manufacturers use to identify hazardous chemicals and their associated risks. With the revisions, HCS aligns with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

Employers have responsibilities under the revised HCS, and one of them is fast-approaching:

  • December 1, 2013. Employers must train all employees on the new label elements and safety data sheets format. Texas Mutual recommends that employers document all safety training employees receive, including HCS training.
  • June 1, 2015. Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must comply with all modified provisions of the HCS, except: Distributors may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old HCS until Dec. 1, 2015.
  • June 1, 2016. Employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs as necessary by this date. They must also provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

When will the revised HCS be in effect?

It already is, but OSHA is allowing a phased-in approach. Manufacturers must comply by June 1, 2015, but some are already using the new system. You might have received chemical containers labeled under the new and old systems.

Where do you get more information?

For more information about the revised HCS and your responsibilities:

About the author

Angela Gardner has 25 years’ experience in health and safety. She has spent the past 19 years helping Texas Mutual policyholders prevent workplace accidents and their associated costs. Angela works closely with Texas Mutual’s safety groups to identify and implement best safety practices tailored to their unique needs. She is a frequent presenter at our statewide workers’ comp workshops, and she has shared her expertise as an instructor through our joint venture with College of the Mainland. Angela, who holds the associate in risk management designation, is a founding member of the oil and gas safety roundtable.

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