OSHA Guidance on Enforcing Revised HazCom Standard

OSHA has issued instructions to compliance safety and health officers on how to ensure consistent enforcement of the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). OSHA revised the HazCom standard in March 2012 to align with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The revised standard is intended to improve the quality of chemical hazard information that workers receive.

The instructions outline revisions to the HCS, including:

  • Updated hazard classification of chemicals
  • Standardized label elements for chemical containers, and
  • Specifying the format and required content for safety data sheets.

The standard set varied implementation dates for employers, manufacturers and distributors:

  • Employers were required to train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets by Dec. 1, 2013.
  • Chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors had to comply with revised safety data sheet requirements by June 1, 2015.
  • Manufacturers and importers had to comply with new labeling provisions by June 1, 2015.
  • Distributors have until Dec. 1, 2015, to comply with labeling provisions as long as they are not relabeling materials or creating safety data sheets, in which case the June 1 deadline applies.

The guidance also explains how the revised standard is to be enforced during its transition period and after the standard is fully implemented on June 1, 2016.

GHS Resources:

Explaining GHS Pictorgams

GHS Pictograms

To ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of such information.