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December 1 Deadline on Important Changes to Hazardous Chemical Standards

November 2013

OSHA’s Revised Hazard Communication Standard Expected to Reduce Worker Injuries and Help American Businesses Compete Globally

TROY, MI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals to help better protect workers from dangerous chemicals and reduce global trade barriers for American companies.

The revised standard will benefit workers by reducing confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understanding of hazards. Chemicals will be classified according to their health and physical hazards, and consistent labels and safety data sheets will be established for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad.

According to OSHA, “the new standard, once implemented, will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and result in an estimated $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. businesses each year.” Fully implemented by 2016, the revised standard is also expected to prevent an estimated 585 injuries and illnesses annually.

“These crucial changes are imperative for the health and safety of workers and will make it easier for US companies to stay competitive in the global marketplace. But many businesses are not aware of these changes and the upcoming deadline,” said Brownrigg Companies LTD Valissa Naganashe, who specializes in insurance for life science companies.

The first effective standard change requires chemical manufacturer, distributor, and importer employers to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheets format.

Key Effective Dates

  • Dec. 1, 2013 -Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet format.
  • June 1, 2015 – Comply with all modified provisions of the final rule (distributors may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old system until Dec. 1, 2015).
  • June 1, 2016 – Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs as necessary and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

For more information, guidance materials, fact sheets and quick cards on OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard visit http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html. For information on the Michigan Occupation Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA) visit http://www.michigan.gov/lara/.

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