Medical Environment Update—Upcoming OSHA hazard communicaton changes

By: March 14th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The March issue of Medical Environment Update reports on the ppcoming OSHA hazard communication change how it may make MSDS and warning label process more user-friendly.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

Plans by OSHA to make changes in its Hazard Communication standard concerning MSDSs should make life easier for safety and OSHA compliance officers and healthcare facilities in general.

OSHA is scheduled to implement the new Hazard Communication standard by August.

“Ultimately, I think this will be very helpful to healthcare facilities because it makes the whole MSDS concept a little more user-friendly,” says Steven MacArthur, safety consultant at The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Danvers, MA.

OSHA’s plan to adopt the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals into the standard is now in the final rule phase. Among other changes, the rule would require standardization of MSDSs and warning labels. To read OSHA’s proposedchange, please visit http://www.dol.gov/osha/regs/unifiedagenda/fall2010/1218-AC20.htm.

Safety officers should look for final action regarding the Hazard Communication standard to occur in August, according to the semiannual regulatory agenda published in the December 20, 2010, FederalRegister. Most of the other healthcare-related items on that agenda are still in the pre-rule stage, and therefore at least a year away.

Reasons for the change
The Hazard Communication standard requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and to prepare labels and MSDSs to convey the hazards and associated protective measures users of the chemicals should take.

Healthcare facilities with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces are required to have a written hazard communication program, including labels on containers, MSDSs, and training for their employees.

The Medical Environment Update March issue also includes:

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