The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nation's global chemical labeling system (known as GHS). According to OSHA, once implemented, the new standard will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and 585 injuries each year, and result in an estimated $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. businesses annually.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing Americans workers, says OSHA. Revising the Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency, and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global market place.
The revised standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the U.S. and imported from abroad. The standard will be fully implemented in 2016. During the transition period to the effective dates noted in the standard, chemicals manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers may comply with the new standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.1200), the current standard, or both.