With the revisions come several changes, including the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This system uses a common, consistent approach to labeling, classifying chemical hazards and safety data sheets (SDS’s – no more Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s)). Federal OSHA states the changes are expected to prevent over 500 workplace injuries and illnesses and 43 fatalities annually, along with many other benefits. The end goal is to ensure optimal environmental health and workplace safety around the world.
So, what does this mean for your city? The major changes will be around training and container labeling. According to OSHA, these are the major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard:
- 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.
More, links and information, including an easy-to-read hazard communication standard pictograms guide, is available at the League of Minnesota Cities website. Click here GHS at a glance to find out what you need to do and when.
Of course, you can always contact your LMCIT loss control consultant with questions as well.
by Jackie Torgerson