WASHINGTON, DC – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued instructions to compliance safety and health officers on how to ensure consistent enforcement of the revised Hazard Communication standard*. OSHA revised the Hazard Communication standard in March 2012 to align with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The revised standard improved the quality, consistency and clarity of chemical hazard information that workers receive.
This instruction outlines the revisions to the HCS, such as the revised hazard classification of chemicals, standardizing label elements for containers of hazardous chemicals, and specifying the format and required content for safety data sheets. It explains how the revised standard is to be enforced during its transition period and after the standard is fully implemented on June 1, 2016.
Under the standard, employers were required to train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets by Dec. 1, 2013. Chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors had to comply with revised safety data sheet requirements by June 1, 2015. Manufacturers and importers had to comply with new labeling provisions by June 1, 2015. Distributors have until Dec. 1, 2015, to comply with labeling provisions as long as they are not relabeling materials or creating safety data sheets, in which case they must comply with the June 1 deadline.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.