OSHA’S Hazard Communication Standard Deadlines
- Anna Kozak
In 1983, OSHA promulgated the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), (CFR 29 1910.1200) to establish uniform requirements for the evaluation of chemical hazards by the manufacturer. It is referred to as the "Worker Right to Know" standard.
The standard's purpose ensured that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are evaluated and that information concerning their hazards is transmitted to employers and employees. This would be accomplished by means of comprehensive Hazard Communication (Haz Com) Programs, to include container labeling and other forms of warning, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and employee training.
Providing workers with access to work hazard information was a valuable tool, but the information was not always easy to understand or readily applicable. Historically under Haz Com, there are no firm rules for what a label or safety data sheet should look like or how information is presented.
Now, under the new Hazard Communication Standard, instead of having a variety of different safety data sheets and labels, the hazard warnings will be uniform regardless of who produces it or where it is produced. More importantly, the message is the same regardless of who sees it.
The new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) provides a standard through which workers also have the right to understand the information they are provided with in the workplace. This means knowing about potential hazards, understanding what the warning means, what to do if exposed, and how to protect one's self around chemicals safely. There's a big difference. They tell you not only what you need to know, but also what you need to do in a way that everyone can clearly and easily understand.
December 1, 2013 was the first deadline for employers, including Flight Departments, to train employees to understand the Globally Harmonized System of chemical labels, pictograms, and Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). December 1, 2015 was the last day distributors could ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old system. By June 1, 2016, all workplace labeling and hazard communication programs must be updated as necessary. Employees must also be provided with additional training for newly identified physical or health hazards. Advanced Aircrew Academy can provide your Flight Department with comprehensive Air Crew and Maintenance OSHA training.