The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is updating its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). A recent post on Lexology gave more details into what will change with the GHS labeling requirements.
According to the news source, companies must ensure that all hazardous chemicals are properly labeled, tagged or marked with detailed information, including appropriate hazard warnings. However, the manufacturer or importer of such materials must also now supply a safety data sheet (SDS), which were formerly known as material safety data sheets.
The new format of filling out an SDS has become more detailed, with there being 16 subject areas instead of eight. Also, the greatest worker concerns must be addressed sooner in the document. Some of the areas to be addressed by a labeled chemical include, but are not limited to: basic identification, first-aid measures, toxicological and transport information.
"A chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor must ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals leaving the workplace is labeled, tagged, or marked with 'core information,' including a product identifier, a signal word such as DANGER or CAUTION, a pictogram with red borders, and a hazard statement," the article explained.
While many descriptive phrases and precautionary terms are similar – albeit slightly reworded – it is necessary for companies to also take note of changes in pictograms, as those have become more detailed to account for better warning labels.
When organizations have their own color label printer on-hand, creating unique chemical labels that adhere to all federal standards will be a much easier task.