OSHA Updates Hazcom Standard to Enhance Worker Protection

OSHA Updates Hazcom Standard to Enhance Worker Protection

The new rule enhances labels and safety data sheets for improved emergency response.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a significant update to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to better safeguard workers and first responders. OSHA’s final rule—which goes into effect on July 19, 2024—aims to enhance the quality and amount of information available on labels and safety data sheets (SDS).

According to a recent release, the rule aligns with the seventh revision of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. It now requires more comprehensive, readable labels on small packaging and ensures trade secrets do not obstruct hazard information from workers and first responders.

The updated standard also introduces a clearer hazard classification process, offering more accurate hazard information on labels and SDS. It updates physical hazard classes to provide better guidance on the safe handling of explosives, aerosols and chemicals under pressure. Precautionary statements have also been revised.

The final rule addresses issues identified since the implementation of the 2012 standard, better aligning with other federal agencies and Canada. Established in 1983, the HCS provides a standardized approach to workplace hazard communications relating to exposure to hazardous chemicals. More details are on the OSHA website.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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