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New Changes to Safety Programs

Safety Programs across the United States are currently under revision to include the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classifications.  Chemical labeling of Hazardous Materials are changing to promote a uniform approach to give employees a greater understanding of what they are actually working with, which gives a much needed update to the previous 1910.1200 standard.

Safety Programs across the United States are currently under revision to include the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classifications.  Chemical labeling of Hazardous Materials are changing to promote a uniform approach to give employees a greater understanding of what they are actually working with, which gives a much needed update to the previous 1910.1200 standard.

The GHS standards originate over multiple years of negotiations by Hazard Communication experts in many different countries.  The final product of the international effort is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals; or as industry professionals affectionately dubbed, “The Purple Book”.  The Purple Book includes information on physical, environmental, and health hazards to convey hazards to the user.  The United Nations has committed to revisit and revise these standards every two years as needed to further refine Safety Programs.  Thus far, the revisions have been further clarifications of the presentation of the information; however, updates can also include Direct Final Rules, Technical Updates, and Notice and Comment rulemaking.

In the past, different distributors and manufacturers would slightly vary how a chemical was labeled, and Safety Plans would vary and need to leave room for this variance.  For instance the same chemical might be labeled toxic, very toxic, or extremely toxic depending on which company the chemical originated from.  The newly adopted system eliminates the variance and promotes uniformity.  Each hazard can be classified within any of the 9 pictograms within a red framed border.  The pictograms include:  Health Hazard, a Flame, an Exclamation Mark, a Gas Cylinder, Corrosion, an Exploding Bomb, a Flame over Circle, Environment (not mandatory), and Skull and Crossbones.  

The December 1st, 2013 deadline for training employees is quickly approaching; meaning Safety Plans need to be revised and retaught by this deadline.  The hope for the new system is that employees will be able to be quickly trained on the new standard.  Manufacturers of Chemicals, Employers, and Importers have until June 1, 2015 to comply with the updated requirements; while Distributors are permitted to continue to ship products under the old standards until December 1, 2015. 

Updates to the standard for Hazard Communication or Hazcom also require Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to comply with a specific 16 section standard.  The WHAT on the Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) is not changing, but the format and presentation of the information IS changing.  The information will be required to be in order, allowing professionals utilizing the information to be able to quickly reference needed sections efficiently.  The requirement for Threshold Limit Values set by the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienist will continue to be listed; however the limit is voluntary. 

To find a local Certified Industrial Hygienist to update your Safety Program with the new HazCom regulationsFeature Articles, click here.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


I just moved from Chicago to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I have two dogs and am a car enthusiast. Safety in today's work environment is a passion of mine.  



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