Safety Update



Hazard Communication: Workers Must be Trained by December 1, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard are bringing the United States into alignment with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). While the Hazard Communication Standard gave workers the ‘right to know,’ the new GHS gives workers the ‘right to understand.’

The new hazard-communication standard still requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the chemicals they produce or import and provide hazard information to employers and workers by putting labels on containers and preparing safety datasheets. However, the old standard allowed chemical manufacturers and importers to convey hazard information on labels and material safety datasheets in whatever format they chose. The modified standard provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and specifies hazard communication elements for labeling and safety datasheets.

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. The new format of safety datasheets requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information.

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 datasheet format, in addition to the current training requirements. Learn more at


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