OSHA Updates Hazard Communication Standard

Graphic - Blog 2024-07-09 OSHA Hazard Communication

Effective July 19, 2024, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard. This change improves the amount and quality of information on labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). The final rule aims to better inform employees about the chemicals they work with and improve workplace safety.

Here’s a summary of the hazard communication updates:

  • Alignment with GHS: The revised standard primarily aligns with the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This promotes international consistency in hazard communication.
  • Enhanced Label Information: Labels on small containers will now be more comprehensive and readable, ensuring workers can easily identify crucial hazard information.
  • Improved Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Changes were made to ensure trade secrets no longer prevent essential hazard information from reaching workers and first responders on SDSs.
  • Compliance Deadlines: The updated standard goes into effect on July 19, 2024, with extended compliance dates for certain aspects.

Employers, as necessary, must update any alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program and provide any additional employee training for newly identified hazards of a chemical in the workplace.  Employers must also update labels and SDSs as needed. There are distinct compliance deadlines for these requirements as they apply to substances and mixtures.

The phased set of deadlines for compliance with the final rule are as follows:

Date
Requirement
Regulated Entity
1/1/2026 Update labels and SDSs for substances Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors
7/20/2026 Update workplace labels, hazard communication program, and training as necessary for substances Employers
7/19/2027 Update labels and SDSs for mixtures Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors
1/19/2028 Update workplace labels, hazard communication program, and training as necessary for mixtures Employers
5/20/2024 May comply with the revised HazCom standard, the current standard, or both Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors

What to do now:

Despite the grace periods for complying with the revised rule, quick action is recommended. Given the complexity of the new requirements, particularly regarding chemical labeling, employers should initiate compliance efforts as soon as possible. 

An employer may need to reassess and update its HazCom program. Designate and train individuals knowledgeable about the chemicals it uses (and manufactures and distributes, if applicable) on the changes introduced by the revised standard. Depending on an employer’s business, it may need to reanalyze its chemical classifications, labels, SDSs, written HazCom program, and training offerings. However, because the final rule contains only limited revisions of the hazard classification rules. OSHA does not anticipate that most employers will need to complete these steps.

Find more details on the OSHA website.

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