OSHA revises Hazard Communication Standard: Establishing New Training Requirements
By R. Dean Wingo, CIH, CSP
Advisor, University of Texas Arlington
OSHA Education Center
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ global chemical labeling system. OSHA’s 1983 Hazard Communication Standard (29CFR1910.1200) gave workers the right to know the risks they are exposed to and required training for all workers who are using or exposed to Hazardous Chemicals. The new training and other requirements of the revised Hazard Communication Standard will be fully implemented in 2016 and should benefit workers by reducing confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understanding of hazards, especially for low literacy workers. OSHA’s revised standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, as well as establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad.
The new revised rule is available online at the following link: http://s.dol.gov/P1*. (available here with hyperlink)
The revised standard contains two significant changes: the use of new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). The new label elements and SDS requirements will improve worker understanding of the hazards associated with the chemicals in their workplace. To help companies comply with the revised standard, OSHA is phasing in the specific requirements over several years (December 1, 2013 to June 1, 2016). The first compliance date of the revised Hazard Communication Standard is December 1, 2013. By that time employers must have trained their workers on the new label elements and the SDS format. This training is needed early in the transition process since workers are already beginning to see the new labels and SDSs on the chemicals in their workplace. To ensure employees have the information they need to better protect themselves from chemical hazards in the workplace during the transition period, it is important that employees understand the new label and SDS formats.
The University of Texas Arlington, OSHA Education Center is offering training to help employers prepare for compliance with the newly revised Hazard Communication Standard. The new Hazard Communication Global Harmonization System (GHS)course provides answers to questions regarding recent changes to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, as well as the impact on other federal requirements. Participants will receive an overview of the changes to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (OSHA 1910.1200) regarding adoption of the United Nations Global Harmonization System. Participants will receive background on the evolution and development of GHS and be provided with the changes to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. Employer responsibilities and deadlines under the new OSHA Standard will be reviewed with a focus on what employers need to know to ensure compliance. To see the schedule for current classes use the following link:
For the past 20 years, violations of OSHA Hazard Communication standard have been in the top 10 most frequently violated standards for both General Industry and Construction work site inspections. Most of these violation/citations are related to failures to keep training up to date for employees and keeping adequate information (Safety Data Sheets) available for products currently in use. The first training deadline and compliance requirement for completing the training required in this revised standard is December 1, 2013. Let’s work together to get Hazard Communication implemented effectively in the workplace and off the OSHA Top Ten Violations List.
Dean Wingo began his career with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1975 as a Compliance Officer in the Oklahoma City area office. During his 38 years with OSHA he has worked as an Industrial Hygienist in the Dallas Regional Office; an Assistant Area Director in the Dallas Area Office, Area Director in the Fort Worth Area Office and ending his career as Assistant Regional Administrator for Cooperative and State Programs and Emergency Response. He retired from OSHA in January this year (2013). He currently works as a part time consultant and Advisor to the OSHA Education Center, University of Texas Arlington.
Mr. Wingo holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and a Master of Science in Environmental Science from University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.
He is both a Certified Safety Professional and Certified Industrial Hygienist.