After a decade-long effort, OSHA has announced that the Hazard Communications Standard has been revised to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, commonly known as GHS.
The adoption of GHS ushers in a new era of Hazard Communication for the United States. In this announcement, OSHAHA referred to the revised HazCom Standard as Haz Com 2012. They said the first incarnation of HazCom gave employees the "Right to Know" what chemical hazards they were exposed to. HazCom 2012 gives them the "Right to Understand."
According to OSHA, changes to the HCS will affect over 43 million workers in over 5 million workplaces. The biggest changes center on (1) Hazard Classification; (2) Labels; (3) Safety Data Sheets; and (4) Training.
The greatest costs to businesses will be around:
- Reclassifying of Chemicals
- Re-authoring of Safety Data Sheets
- Training of Workers on New Hazards and Formats
- Color Printing of Labels
In all, OSHA expects annualized costs (spread out over 4 years) to be over $200 million. Annualized savings are estimated to be between $700 and $800 million, for a net savings of $500 million annually. Additionally, OSHA expects the revised standard will prevent 43 fatalities and 585 injuries annually, which is calculated at 1% of the expected outcomes from the 1983 promulgation of the HCS.
There are 4 key compliance dates related to OSHA's adoption of GHS:
- December 1, 2013: Employers must train employees on how to read GHS formatted labels and safety data sheets.
- June 1, 2015: Chemical manufacturers and distributors must complete hazard reclassification and produce GHS styled labels and safety data sheets. Distributors get an additional 6 months to complete shipments of old inventory.
- December 1, 2015: Distributors must comply fully with HCS requirements. (Grace period for shipments of old inventory ends.)
- June 1, 2016: Employers must be in full compliance with revised HCS, including complete training of employees on new hazards and/or revisions to workplace hazard communication program.
Healthcare Compliance Pros will provide you with all training and information you will need on this new OSHA Standard.