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Dec. 1 is the OSHA deadline for all employers in Tennessee and the nation who work with hazardous chemicals to train employees on the changes to the Hazard Communication Standard.
The new requirements relating to labeling and safety data sheets are being phased in through 2016; however, the first compliance deadline is rapidly approaching.
The update will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The major changes are:
• Hazard classification — Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
• Labels — Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
• Safety-data sheets — Will now have a specified 16-section format.
Once implemented, the revised standard is intended to improve the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals.
“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is something that affects everyone from construction industry workers to schoolteachers,” said Tennessee OSHA Administrator Steve Hawkins. “It is important to have employees recognize hazardous chemical symbols to ensure chemical safety in the workplace.”
TOSHA and the University of Tennessee have developed a video presentation designed to help train employees on the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, and the Hazard Communication Standard.
The video is available to view at www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/tosha.html and can be obtained in DVD format from TOSHA for $20 per copy. A Spanish version will be available soon both in DVD format and on the website.