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GHS HAZCOM Training – Your Right to Know

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | August 8, 2013 | Comments Off on GHS HAZCOM Training – Your Right to Know

GHS HAZCOM Training – Your Right to Know

I’ve always strived to keep our audience informed about GHS HAZCOM updates. For this reason, I’ve rounded up a bit more info on what you should expect from the recently implemented GHS HAZCOM training requirement for OSHA-covered workers.

Just to give you a quick recap, OSHA has updated its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), which was developed by the United Nations and the International Labor Organization. The updates’ main components include harmonizing chemical labels, signal words, pictograms and hazard statements, as well as the use of a standard-format datasheet across all industries. The compliance deadline for training on this update is December 1, 2013.

I know some are still left wondering about the changes and what training should cover. Here are a few things that I noted from my GHS webinar:

1.    Product Identifiers

Product identifiers are a portion of the chemical label and Section 1 of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The identifier should provide the name of the chemical, code number or batch number. Manufacturers, importers and distributors are tasked with deciding the product identifier that they’ll be assigning to the chemical.

2.    Signal Words

The signal word should indicate the hazard level and effectively alert the reader of the hazard’s gravity. “Danger” and “warning” are terms you often see on labels. Both words may connote or pertain to risks, but have different denotations or actual meanings. “Danger” is in fact used for more severe hazards, while “warning” is used on less severe ones. But there’s no need to be confused about the two—only one signal word will be put on the chemical label.

3.    Pictograms and Statements

Pictograms are used on a chemical label if the chemical has multiple hazards. A pictogram is used for each hazard. As for warning statements, the most relevant, or rather, the one providing protective information will be the one used on the label.

4.    Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

A new SDS with the uniform format will be used starting June 1, 2015, which includes section numbers, headings and other pertinent information. The SDS format will also be changed to accommodate 16 sections.

For the OSHA GHS training, workers should be educated on the topic details. For example, if Section 8’s title is Exposure Controls/Personal Protection, then the section must elaborate on exposure limits and the use of PPEs (personal protective equipment). The training should also cover the relationship between the labels and the SDS.

The GHS HAZCOM update will affect over five million workplaces and 43 million workers. For further information, check out OSHA’s GHS HAZCOM fact sheet and OSHA’s Hazard Communication page.

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