OSHA Revises Hazard Communication Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.   All nursing centers and assisted living centers must train staff on this new standard by December 1, 2013.  The American Health Care Association (AHCA) has provided information to assist members in their efforts to comply with the training requirements of the revised standard in addition to a brief power point presentation that can be used in the required training to assist with compliance.  These were prepared by Jackson Lewis LLP, AHCA’s OSHA consultant.  

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard include the following:

  • Hazard classification: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. Hazard classification under the new, updated standard provides specific criteria to address health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.
  • Safety Data Sheets: The new format requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information.
  • Information and training: To facilitate understanding of the new system, the new standard requires that workers be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format, in addition to the current training requirements.

An OSHA Fact Sheet includes pertinent information on the changes and a chart with dates by which requirements must be completed.