WASHINGTON (Oct. 29, 2013) — The deadline is Dec. 1 for employers to train their employees on how to read the new Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) under the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
This is the first of several deadlines OSHA is asking employers to meet during the phase-in period for the new HCS standard which ends June 1, 2016.
The HCS standard was developed to allow MSDS to conform with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, according to OSHA.
By Dec. 1, employers must have trained workers on the new MSDS labels and formats. The new label elements include product identifiers, signal words ("Danger" or "Warning"), pictograms, precautionary statements, and the names, addresses and phone numbers of chemical manufacturers, distributors and importers.
"This training is needed early in the transition process, since workers are already beginning to see the new labels and SDSs on the chemicals in their workplace," OSHA said in a fact sheet on the HCS standard.
All manufacturing facilities that make or use chemicals are covered under the new standard. So are gasoline retailers, marketers and refiners, according to the Tire Industry Association (TIA).
"Please make sure you have your employees trained by the Dec. 1 deadline," TIA said in its Oct. 28 Legislative Update. "Also, please note that in addition you must put a hazard communication program in writing and make it available to the public if anyone asks for it."
To find the fact sheet on the new standard, visit OSHA's website, click the publication tab at the top and scroll down the alphabetical list to "Harcard Communication Standard."