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OSHA: How to comply with HazCom standard during transition period

March 23, 2012
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globalOSHA has released additional details about its revised Hazard Communication Standard -- announced this week -- which will bring the U.S. in alignment with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The Department of Labor estimates that the new standard, once implemented, will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and 585 injuries each year.

The Hazard Communication Standard will be fully implemented in 2016. It will reduce confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understanding of hazards, especially for low literacy workers. The standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad.

The revised standard also is expected to reduce trade barriers and result in estimated annualized benefits in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store and use hazardous chemicals, as well as cost savings of $32.2 million for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the standard.

During the transition period to the effective completion dates noted in the standard, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers may comply with either 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.1200 (the final standard), the current standard or both.

The final rule revising the standard is available at www.s.dol.gov/P1*.

Further information for workers, employers and downstream users of hazardous chemicals can be reviewed at OSHA's Hazard Communication Safety and Health topics at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html, which includes links to OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard and guidance materials such as Q and A's, OSHA fact sheet and Quick Cards.
 

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