OSHA announces amended Hazard Communication standard

By: March 21st, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA’s changes to the Hazard Communication standard will improve safety by making it easier for workers to understand the threat that hazardous chemicals present in the workplace.

“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis at a March 20 news conference. “Revising OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace.”

The change aligns the standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals which, according to OSHA, should reduce confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitate safety training, and improve understanding of hazards, especially for low literacy workers. The GHS also classifies chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establishes consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad.

“OSHA’s 1983 Hazard Communication Standard gave workers the right to know. As one participant expressed during our rulemaking process, this update will give them the right to understand, as well,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

The final rule revising the standard is available at http://s.dol.gov/P1, and complete implementation of HazCom 2012, as it is informally known, is expected by 2016. Employers have until December 2013 to train employees to the systems new requirements.

Take the guesswork out of complying with the newly modified OSHA Hazard Communication standard and PPE requirements in your healthcare facility

Changes to the OSHA Hazard Communication standard through adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classifying and labeling chemicals, and the new Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in General Industry are two of the most significant changes from OSHA this year. Now, available on demand is HCPro’s HazCom/GHS and PPE Enforcement: Understanding the New Requirements for OSHA Compliance in Healthcare, a 90-minute audio program where healthcare industry experts will tell you how these changes affect your workplace, provide a timeline for implementation, and offer tools to help you train your staff.


By Debra Ledbetter on March 27th, 2012 at 9:54 am

Can you simplify this regulation to be easier understood or perhaps guide me in the right direction other than the over 800 page document. Compliance is something I’m interested in.

Thanks so much.

By Bret Freeman on March 29th, 2012 at 9:41 am

So are all JC accredited hospitals obligated to adopt the new standards and train employees by December 2013? That is the way I understand this.


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