The deadline for training your employees according to the new federal Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is fast approaching. The new standard requires that workplaces conform with the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labeling of chemicals. According to the GHS, employees must be informed, trained and monitored on the chemical hazards found and used in the workplace.
This new training course is currently available in the WAKEUP CALL Training Module. Below is some additional information on the new HCS and the GHS.
Elements of GHS
“Chemical Hazards” are defined as Physical, Health, Environmental, Combustible Dust, Pyrophoric gas, or HNOC (“hazards not otherwise classified”).
Hazard Class – Chemicals will now be identified by one or more Hazard Classes. These appear in the pictograms below in this article (e.g., Carcinogen, etc.).
Hazard Category – Each Hazard Class is subdivided based on severity from 1 (most hazardous) to as many as 4 (least hazardous).
Hazard Ratings – OSHA hazard ratings will be in the opposite order of the existing NFPA / HMIS hazard rating systems as shown below.
Labels – The label is the most immediate source of information on hazardous chemicals. Labels will be required to contain a Product Identifier, Precautionary Information, and Supplier Identification.
Pictograms – A new requirement will be the use of pictograms. Pictograms are to be black symbols on awhite background within a red frame. Pictograms required by OSHA are displayed below in this article.
Signal Words – These words, used to identify hazard levels, have changed. CAUTION will no longer be used as a signal word. The new signal words will be:
-Warning: used for less severe hazards
-Danger: used for more severe hazards
Precautionary Statements – Instructions on handling of the chemical are covered by the following four types of statements:
-Prevention: Protective equipment, safe handling and use
-Response: First aid and spill cleanup
-Storage: Proper storage procedures
-Disposal: Proper disposal procedures
The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) – These replace the MSDS that are in use now. They are now required to have a specified 16-section format.
Phase-In Dates Under the New HCS:
The new HCS went into effect on 05/25/12 and will be phased-in over four years.
Specifics of the New Pictograms
There are nine pictograms under the GHS to convey the health, physical and environmental hazards. The final Hazard Communication Standard requires eight of these pictograms, the exception being the environmental pictogram, as environmental hazards are not within OSHA’s jurisdiction. The hazard pictograms and their corresponding hazards are shown below.