Hazard Communication Standard: New Chemical Provisions

Dale Rothenberger has more than 20 years of experience in business transformation and program process management.

Key Elements of the New Standard

Key provisions of the revised Hazard Communication Standard include:

Hazard classification: There will be a new system and set criteria for classifying the hazardous properties of chemicals. This classification system offers very specific instructions as to the classification of any and all health and physical hazards in addition to mixtures’ classifications.

Labels: Under the new labeling system all chemical importers and manufacturers will be expected to utilize labels that include a signal word, pictogram and hazard statement from the new harmonized system.

Safety Data Sheets: Detailed chemical safety information will be required and must follow a uniform, 16-section format.

Information and Training: Employers are required to train workers by Dec. 1, 2013, on the new GHS label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding. This is required to aid in the recognition and understanding of these important changes.

Pharmaceuticals, food additives, cosmetics and pesticide residues in food will not be covered by the GHS at the point of consumption, but will be covered where workers may be exposed (workplaces), and in transport. Also, the medical use of human or veterinary pharmaceuticals is generally addressed in package inserts and is not part of existing hazard communication systems. Similarly, foods are generally not labeled under existing hazard communication systems. The exact requirements for labels and Safety Data Sheets will continue to be defined in national regulations.

The new Safety Data Sheet provides information in an entirely new format and resource to obtain advice on safety precautions. The SDS information enables the employer to develop an active program of worker protection measures, including training, which is specific to the individual workplace, and to consider any measures that may be necessary to protect the environment.

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