What Are the Major Changes to the Hazard Communication Standard?

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What Are the Major Changes to the Hazard Communication Standard?

Chemicals can be a useful tool in the workplace, but only if they are utilized properly. The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) was created to ensure chemical safety at work in any business by providing information about dangerous substances. The goal is to equip personnel with information about the hazards of working with chemicals so that they can protect themselves from harm. In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). All hazardous information about a chemical used in the workplace, including physical, health, and environmental effects, must be adequately communicated to individuals working with it, according to the Hazard Communication guideline.

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) has been updated to harmonize with the Globally Harmonized System of Chemical Classification and Labeling (GHS). The HCS will be updated to provide a more consistent and uniform method to identify chemicals and present hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. This update will also help reduce trade barriers and improve productivity for American businesses that handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals on a regular basis, as well as save money for businesses that update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered by the hazard communication standard on a regular basis.

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) mandates the creation and transmission of the following information:

* All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, as well as training them on how to handle the chemicals properly. 

The Hazard Communication Standard has undergone significant revisions

Hazard Classification

When working with any chemical, hazard classification is required to determine the level of severity. Identifying the chemicals and their hazard effects, analyzing the impact of risks connected with the chemicals, and determining the degree of Hazard are all processes in the categorization process based on the Hazard Communication Standard.

Container Labeling

Chemical makers and importers must guarantee that all pictograms, danger statements, precautionary statements, and suitable hazard warnings are appropriately labeled on the containers. When transferring to secondary containers, the same labeling method should be followed. 

The following six elements are labeled, tagged, or marked on hazardous substances leaving their workplace, i.e., transported container: 
Product Identifier – a name or number that is used on a label or SDS to identify a hazardous chemical and is a unique way to identify the chemical. 
Pictogram – a combination of a symbol and other graphic elements used to convey specific hazard information. GHS has a total of nine pictograms. OSHA regulates eight of the nine risks, but not the environmental hazards.

The term “signal word” is used to describe the relative severity of a hazard.

Warning is used for less severe threats, whereas danger is used for more severe hazards.

Hazard Statement – describes the Hazard’s nature and severity (s).

Precautionary Statement – a term that describes the precautions that should be taken to reduce or eliminate the negative effects of exposure or inappropriate storage or handling.
Supplier Information – the chemical producer, importer, or other responsible party’s name, address, and phone number. 

On the transported container label, the signal word, danger statement(s), and pictogram(s) must be grouped together and NOT separated on the container or outside packaging. With the change to the Hazard Communication Standard, OSHA maintained its flexibility in allowing businesses to choose the types of workplace labels they want to use. Employers can mark workplace containers with the same label information as the chemical manufacturer or importer used on the shipped containers or with alternative labels that meet the standard’s criteria. Although English must be prominently displayed on every shipped container and workplace label, other languages may be included if they are appropriate for your workplace.

[SDS] Security Data Sheets

Every hazardous substance should be accompanied by a Safety Data Sheet. It should be presented in a logical and consistent manner, and it should be easily accessible.

The 16-section format of safety data sheets is one of the major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard. The following is the order in which the information on a safety data sheet must appear:

  • Identification includes the product identifier, the name, address, and phone number of the manufacturer, importer, or another responsible party; an emergency phone number; recommended use; and restrictions on use. 
  • Hazard Identification includes all potential hazards and appropriate warnings for the chemical, as well as required label elements. 
  • Ingredient composition/information includes chemical ingredient information and trade secret claims. 
  • First-aid measures include important symptoms/effects that are immediate or delayed, as well as treatment that is required. 
  • Firefighting measures include a list of appropriate extinguishing techniques and equipment, as well as chemical hazards from fire. 
  • Emergency procedures, protective equipment, and proper containment and cleanup methods are all listed in the accidental release measures section. 
  • Handling and storage include incompatibilities as well as precautions for safe handling and storage.
  • Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) established by OSHA; Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH); and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the SDS where available, as well as appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • The chemical’s physical and chemical properties are listed.
  • (Stability and Reactivity). Chemical stability and possible hazardous reactions are listed in number
  • Toxicological data includes routes of exposure, symptoms, acute and chronic effects, and numerical toxicity measures. 
  • Ecological data includes information on toxicity, persistence and biodegradability, bio accumulative potential, soil mobility, and other negative effects.
  • Disposal considerations give a description of waste residues as well as information on how to handle them safely and dispose of them, including how to dispose of any contaminated packaging.
  • Classification information for shipping and transporting hazardous products by road, air, rail, or sea is provided in this section. 
  • Product-specific safety, health, and environmental restrictions are provided in regulatory information.
  • Other details include the date of preparation or the most recent revision.

Education and Information

Employers should provide downstream users with all required information about the substances and their hazards. Employers should additionally provide these employees with hazard communication training. The training should cover topics including the many types of chemicals used in the workplace, how to read labels, and the components of Safety Data Sheets. 

Following the first training, staff should receive additional training anytime new chemicals are introduced to the workplace. 

Setting Up a Hazard Communication System.

Employers must establish or implement a written or comprehensive hazard communication program to ensure that all hazardous chemicals used at work are fully understood. This approach entails a review of the substances involved, the availability of Safety Data Sheets for those chemicals, and personnel training programs.

Hazard’s Main Goal Is to

The purpose of the Communication Standard is to ensure that all chemicals manufactured or imported are categorized and that all chemical makers and employers pass this information on to all downstream users. Following the Hazard Communication Standard can help people comprehend hazardous compounds better. Adoption of the standard’s aspects aids in the identification of physical, health, and environmental threats, ensuring the safety and health of personnel at work. The GHS does not include unified training provisions, but it does recognize the need for training in hazard communication. Workers must be re-trained within two years after the final rule’s publication to facilitate recognition and understanding of hazards, according to the new Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). 

Questions That Are Frequently Asked 

What Is the Meaning of GHS?

The Globally Harmonized System of Chemical Classification and Labeling is an acronym for the Globally Harmonized System of Chemical Classification and Labeling. 

What Is the Globally Harmonized System, and How Does It Work? 

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is an international approach to hazard communication that establishes agreed-upon criteria for chemical hazard classification and a consistent approach to label elements and safety data sheets. The GHS establishes a set of standardized classification standards for substances’ health, physical, and environmental risks. The HCS does not encompass environmental dangers, according to OSHA.

How Has the New Hazard Communication Standard Affected Chemical Hazard Evaluation? 

Each health and physical hazard has its own set of criteria under the new HCS. It includes step-by-step guidelines for danger assessment and classification of chemical compounds and combinations. It also provides hazard classes and hazard categories—for the most part, the classes are grouped into categories that represent the effect’s relative severity. It is the responsibility of chemical manufacturers and importers to classify the dangers of the chemicals they produce or import.

Why Is It Vital to Have a Written Hazard Communication Plan?

Employers can use a written hazard communication program to effectively inform and teach their staff, as well as plan and implement employee protection initiatives. It also provides employees with necessary danger knowledge so that they can participate in, support, and contribute to the protective measures in place at their workplaces. Container labeling, collection, availability of safety data sheets, and employee training must all be included in the documented HazCom program. It must also include a list of hazardous chemicals, as well as the methods the employer will use to alert personnel about the dangers of non-routine jobs (such as cleaning reactor vessels) and the dangers of chemicals in unlabeled pipes.

Is the HazCom Standard Applicable in the Workplace?

The law does not apply to office workers who only come into contact with dangerous materials on rare occasions. Most office supplies (such as pens, pencils, and adhesive tape) are considered exempt under the rule’s requirements, either as articles or as consumer products, according to OSHA. For example, OSHA has previously declared that the regulation does not apply to the use of a copying machine on a regular or irregular basis. 

If a person is handling chemicals to service the equipment or operating it for extended periods of time, the program must be used. 

Which Compounds Are Not Subject to the Hazard Communication Standard?

1910.1200(b)(6) has a few blanket exemptions for specific drugs. The following are examples of exemptions:

* Tobacco or tobacco products
* CERCLA hazardous substances (those listed at EPA 40 CFR 302.4) within a remedial or removal action
* Under certain conditions, wood or wood products 
* Articles (as defined in 1910.1200(c)) are items whose usage is reliant on their shape or design and do not release more than trace amounts of the chemical. 
* In certain circumstances, food or alcoholic beverages 
* Any medicine in certain circumstances
* Cosmetics in some circumstances 
* Any consumer product that is utilized as intended for the same length of time and frequency as if it were used by a consumer. 
*Biological risks
* Nuisance particles
* Ionizing and nonionizing radiation 

What Is the Definition of a Health Hazard?

“A substance that is recognized as exhibiting one of the following dangerous consequences,” according to OSHA, is a “health hazard.” Acute toxicity (from any source); skin corrosion or irritation; significant eye damage or irritation; respiratory or skin sensitization; germ cell mutagenicity, carcinogenicity; reproductive toxicity; toxicity to specific target organs (single or repeated exposure); or aspiration danger.”

What Is the Definition of a Physical Hazard? 

A “physical hazard,” according to OSHA, is “a chemical that is defined as posing one or more of the following harmful effects: oxidizer (liquid, solid, or gas); explosive; flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids); self-reactive; pyrophoric (liquid or solid); self-heating; organic peroxide; corrosive to metal; gas under pressure; or in contact with water generates flammable gas.”

What Is the Frequency of HazCom Refresher Training?

You must give “effective” HazCom training to your employees at the time of their initial assignment and whenever a new physical or health danger is introduced into their work area that the employees have not previously been informed about. If a new solvent is introduced to the workplace and its dangers are similar to those of current compounds for which training has previously been provided, no additional training is required. If the newly introduced solvent is a suspected carcinogen and there has never been a carcinogenic hazard in the workplace previously, new carcinogenic hazard training for personnel in the work areas where they would be exposed must be provided.

Who Is Responsible for a Training Contract or Temp Workers? 

The contractor and/or the temporary agency employer share responsibilities for providing training to temporary personnel in order to meet the criteria of the HazCom standard. It should be specified in the contract between the temporary agency and the employer, who is responsible for providing generic hazmat training. Host employers would subsequently be responsible for providing the standard’s site-specific hazard training.

What Kind of Training Should Employees Receive?

Employee HazCom training must include at least the following:

* Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical in the work area (such as monitoring conducted by the employer, continuous monitoring devices, visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals when released, etc. );

* Physical, health, simple asphyxiation, combustible dust, and pyrophoric gas hazards, as well as hazards not otherwise classified, of a hazardous chemical.

* Steps employees can take to protect themselves from these dangers, such as specific procedures set by the employer to safeguard employees from hazardous chemical exposure, such as acceptable work practices, emergency procedures, and the use of personal protective equipment; and

* The hazard communication program developed by the employer, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used by their employer; the safety data sheet, including the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information; and the safety data sheet, including the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information. 

Employees must be trained on the types of information that can be found on hazard communication labels, such as the following: 

* Product identifier;
* Signal word; * Pictogram; 
* Hazard statement(s); 
* Precautionary statement(s); and
* The chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer’s name, address, and phone number. 

Employees must also be trained on how to use the labels in the workplace. Consider the following scenario: 

* Describe how the information on the label can be utilized to guarantee proper storage of hazardous chemicals, as well as how it can be used to rapidly obtain first-aid information for employees or emergency personnel. 

A basic understanding of how the pieces on a label interact. Consider the following scenario: 

* Explain that several pictograms are used to identify different risks when a substance has numerous hazards. The employee should anticipate seeing the correct pictogram for the hazard class.
* Explain that if two precautionary statements are similar, the one that provides the most protective information will be on the label. 

The following topics must be covered in SDS format training:

* Standardized 16-section format, including the types of information present in each part. 
* The relationship between the information on the label and the SDS.

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