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New Hazard Communication Standard

Posted: 06/2/15

OSHA has adopted a new hazardous chemical labeling requirement as a part of its recent revision of the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HCS). This new labeling system aligns with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

An important section of that standard is a requirement that employees be informed about the chemical effects associated with the hazardous products we use at work. However, you may not have heard of many of the terms that appear on some product labels and material safety data sheets to describe chemical hazards & effects, or the terms may not be adequately defined. Some examples of a few key terms:

  • Toxic – Over-exposure to a toxic chemical can have a poisonous effect on a person
  • Carcinogen – The chemical is believed to cause cancer when over-exposure occurs
  • Irritant – The chemical causes a reversible inflammatory effect on living tissue such as skin
  • Sensitizer – Chemical causes many people to develop an allergic reaction in tissue after repeated exposures
  • Corrosive – The chemical causes visible destruction of, or visible alterations in, living tissue at the site of contact
  • Flammable Liquid – A liquid that emits enough vapors to catch on fire and burn at relatively low temperatures
  • Combustible Liquid – A liquid that must be heated to 100 F or higher to emit enough vapors to catch on fire and burn

Most of you are probably familiar with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), OSHA recently revised their hazard communication standard to require manufacturers and importers of hazardous products to replace their old MSDS’s with the new GHS-compliant Safety Data Sheets (SDS). The SDS’s are similar to the old MSDS’s with a couple of major differences:

  • The new SDS’s will always be comprised of 16 separate sections – Identification, Hazard identification, Composition / Information on Ingredients, First-aid Measures, Fire-fighting Measures, Accidental Release Measures, Handling & Storage, Exposure Controls/ Personal Protection, Physical & Chemical Properties, Stability & Reactivity, Toxicological Information, Ecological Information, Disposal Considerations, Transport Information, Regulatory Information, Other Information
  • The new SDS’s will incorporate the applicable Signal Word, Hazard Statements, Precautionary Statements and Pictograms

harzard 1

hazard 2


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