MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) recently issued a policy letter that states surface miners who met OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) HazCom standards are in compliance to MSHA’s HazCom standards as well.
OSHA recently updated the Hazardous Communication Standard to align with United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. There have been major changes in labeling chemicals, classification of hazards, and the Material Safety Data Sheet are now called Safety Data Sheet with 16 formatted sections.
“MSHA policy being issued clarifies that compliance with OSHA’s HazCom rule meets the requirements of MSHA’s HazCom rule. We recognize that many mines already receive safety data sheets and labels for hazardous chemicals that are developed in accordance with OSHA’s revised standard. We also recognize that mine operators may be required to develop safety data sheets and labels compliant with OSHA’s standard in order to transport, import or export hazardous chemicals because of the transition to the Global Classification and Labeling System.” said Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
According to Title 30, Part 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, mine operators should develop, implement and maintain a written HazCom program for workers. The HazCom standard for miners requires employers to identify chemicals, determine potential hazards, make sure that containers are labeled and have all the information about the hazards of the material in them. Employers must maintain safety data sheet and ensure miners are informed about the health and physical hazards of the chemicals, and are aware about the contents of the written HazCom program.
Most of the OSHA’s HazCom Standards are compatible with MSHA’s hazard communication standards; there are a few aspects of MSHA HazCom standards which are different such as storage of hazardous chemicals. Surface miners are required to fulfill all the aspects of MSHA’s existing standards for hazardous chemicals.