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Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:46

OSHA Announces More Stringent Hazard Communication Standard

Around43 million American workers come into contact with hazardous materials regularly while performing their jobs and the Department of Labor estimates that these changes will prevent approximately43 deaths, 585 injuries and illnesses, and save businesses $475.2million every year. Employers must train their employees on the new labeling and safety sheet requirements by December 1, 2013, and all labels must be in compliance with the new guidelines by June 1, 2015. One of the largest changes is the introduction of the “other hazards which do not result in classification” category, which requires chemicals that have shown adverse health effects in a scientific study to include that information on a label, even if it is outside of any existing classes of hazards. Another change is the inclusion of dusts as hazardous chemicals, which requires that they be covered in worker safety sheets and training. Threshold Limit Values for chemical exposure will still need to be listed on the chemical’s safety data sheet, a change from the original proposal. The final set of standards includes 10 health hazards and 16 physical hazards that require labels. The new labels are expected to be easier to understand for workers who may not speak English or who have a lower literacy level.