OSHA updated their Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HCS), to bring it into alignment with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). These changes help ensure improved quality and consistency in the classification and labeling of all chemicals, and will also enhance worker comprehension. As a result, employees have better information available on the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals, thereby allowing them to avoid injuries and illnesses related to exposures to hazardous chemicals.
Do I need a safety data sheet if I have a label?
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), must accompany hazardous chemicals, are the more complete resource for details regarding hazardous chemicals.
The Hazard Communication Standard, considers a label as an appropriate group of written, printed or graphic informational elements concerning a hazardous chemical that are affixed to, printed on, or attached to the immediate container of a hazardous chemical, or to the outside packaging.
All hazardous chemicals shipped after June 1, 2015, must be labeled with specified elements including pictograms, signal words and hazard and precautionary statements.
What must be included on labels for a hazardous chemical?
• Name, Address and Telephone Number -of the chemical manufacturer, importer or other responsible party
• Product Identifier - is how the hazardous chemical is identified
• Signal Word - are used to indicate the relative level of severity of the hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label
• Hazard Statement(s) - describe the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
• Precautionary Statement(s) - describe recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to the hazardous chemical or improper storage or handling.
The types of precautionary statements: prevention, response, storage; and disposal
Who's responsible for labeling containers?
Employers are responsible for maintaining the labels on the containers, as well as, tanks, totes, and drums.
Can we use our own labeling system?
Employers have the option to create their own workplace labels. If your employer has an in-plant or workplace system of labeling that meets the requirements of HazCom 1994, the employer may continue to use this system in the workplace if this system, in as well as other information available immediately to employees, provides the employees with the information on all the health and physical hazards of the hazardous chemical. This workplace labeling system may include signs, placards, process sheets, batch tickets, operating procedures, or other such written materials to identify hazardous chemicals.
Which language must the label be in?
Labels must be legible, in English, and prominently displayed. Other languages may be displayed in addition to English.
Can we use rating systems such as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) diamonds or HMIS requirements for workplace labels?
Yes, if they are consistent with the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard and the employees have immediate access to the specific hazard information. Employers using NFPA or HMIS labeling must, through training, ensure that its employees are fully aware of the hazards of the chemicals used.
What pictograms are required for Hazard Communication labeling?
GHS uses nine pictograms, the OSHA HCS requires only the use eight of pictograms.
Required pictograms: Health Hazard, Flame, Exclamation Mark, Gas Cylinder, Corrosion, Exploding Bomb, Flame over Circle, Skull and Crossbones, Exclamation Mark