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OSHA: New chemical label standards for December 2013

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is changing its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

According to an announcement made on the company website, OSHA said that the new requirements will start to be phased in on December 1, 2013 and will be completed by June 1, 2016. The goal is to improve worker safety by providing easily understandable information on the appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals.

“By December, employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately,” the posting explained.

The two major changes are that there is a new standard for labeling elements and also a new standardized format for Safety Data Sheets. Furthermore, the chemical labels must identify the product and include a signal word, pictogram and hazard statements. Contact information for the chemical manufacturer also need to be clearly printed, along with precautionary statements about what is inside a container.

OSHA added that the new labels must explain proper storage of the item and have an accurate description of how to perform first aid should the chemical come into contact with an individual.

Should there be multiple hazards, or even more than one chemical in a container, the label must have different pictograms and accurately explain the dangers of each one.

This is a perfect example of why any business involved in production or manufacturing of hazardous chemicals can benefit from in-house label printing. Using an Epson GP-C831 label printer will ensure that a company can design custom labels that are durable and adhere to all federal standards. When requirements change, an organization will never fall behind on orders, and can continue to create the needed chemical labels.

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