OSHA Hazcom Standard To Be Updated This Summer

Who is affected by the updated 2024 Hazcom rule?

Effective July 19, 2024, DOL updates the Hazard Communication Standard.

Hazardous chemical exposures in workplaces in the United States present a serious and ongoing danger to workers. Acute and chronic exposures to hazardous chemicals in the workplace can have serious health consequences.

Chemicals in the workplace should have clear labels and easy-to-understand information about their hazards. Hazard communication is a fundamental element of sound chemical management practices.

That is why the hazard communication standard is getting an update.

On May 20, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a significant update to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to better protect workers and first responders.

According to the news release, the rule aligns with the seventh revision of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.

So, what’s changing?

The revisions to the HCS include the following notable changes:

Maintaining alignment with the GHS:

  • Adding classification categories for aerosols, desensitized explosives, and flammable gases; and
  • Updating select hazard and precautionary statements for clearer and more precise hazard information.

Addressing issues identified in implementing the 2012 HCS:

  • Updating labeling requirements for small containers;
  • Updating labeling requirements for packaged containers that have been released for shipment or that constitute bulk shipping; and
  • Allowing the withholding of concentration ranges of substances for reasons related to trade secrets.

With this new rule, employers can make informed decisions on storing, using, and disposing of chemicals safely to better protect workers.

OSHA estimates that the proposed amendments to the rule would lead to net cost savings of $30.7 million per year and they expect the revisions would result in modest improvements in worker health and safety above those already being achieved under the current HCS, but the agency is unable to quantify the magnitude of these benefits.

Who is affected by the updated Hazcom rule?

According to the final rule, the changes to the HCS do not change the overall list of affected industries or establishments.

However, some changes specifically affect certain establishment groupings that manufacture aerosols, desensitized explosives, and flammable gases.

Other changes affect certain manufacturers of hazardous chemicals that are packaged in small containers and manufacturers of chemicals that are not immediately distributed after being released for shipment.

OSHA’s knows that many employees would need to receive additional training to become familiar with the updates to SDSs and labels for impacted aerosols, desensitized explosives, and flammable gases.

OSHA estimated that each affected chemical manufacturing firm would need to devote 2.5 hours of a Health and Safety Specialist’s time to preparing new training under the proposed rule, and that each affected logistics or production worker would spend 12 minutes receiving the training.

Don’t get fined for OSHA Hazard Communication Standards violations

Too often employers fail to provide hazard communication training on the chemicals in use and on energy control procedures – known as lockout/tagout – to prevent sudden machine starts or parts movement while machines are serviced or maintained.

While training, labeling, and safety data sheets (SDS) violations are common, the most common violations are due to employer failure to develop, implement, and maintain a workplace hazard communication program in the first place.

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard:

  • 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.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

With this new rule coming in July 2024, get ready to train your employees on the latest hazard communication standards changes. 

Get help with customized workplace health policy development

Workplace health and drug testing policies can be complicated to implement and change across your company.

For example, your drug testing policy should consider:

  • Purpose of the Policy
  • Specimen Types
  • Testing Procedures
  • Prescription Drug Disclosure
  • Federal Regulations (DOT)
  • State Drug Testing Laws and Marijuana Laws
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • ADA
  • Prohibited Conduct
  • Consequences

Our Occupational Medicine Team can develop a custom workplace safety plan for your company that combines services like physicals, drug testing, audiograms, respiratory fit testing, and more.

For more information, contact us at 800.551.9816 or info@cnsoccmed.com.

Please be advised that all articles, blogs and written material are not intended to replace the advice of a physician.

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