Reminder: OSHA Implements HazCom Standard

Posted June 2, 2015 at 4:49 pm

The OSHA 2012 HazCom standard, which aligns with the European-based system, recently went into effect. Also referred to as OSHA’s Globally Harmonized System of Hazard Communication, or GHS, and Labeling of Chemicals standard, it requires the following uniform changes to identifiers, labels and safety data sheets, according to an update from Washing Systems’ Director of Safety, Regulatory and Quality John Koduru.

As part of companies’ hazard communication program, safety data sheets should be on file or readily available for employees. Employees should be retrained annually in HazCom training, which includes document training. It’s good timing to conduct that training, if employers have not already done so this year. Manufacturers are required to apply only the OSHA 2012 (GHS) compliant labels on products, but existing containers in stock can be sold with previous labels until Dec. 1, 2015. Replace bulk tank and day-tank labels with the revised labels before Dec. 1, 2015. Additional labels/product identifiers such as those on pipes, hoses and wands may remain the same.

Ambiguous language in the regulation had caused some chemical distributors to worry that the June 1 deadline meant that they had to immediately implement the new labels. OSHA issued a guidance document on May 29 to clarify that distributors have until Dec.1 to sell existing stock with the old labels.Click here and here for details.

To recap, OSHA has now standardized a labeling and documentation program for chemicals that includes the following:

  • Hazard classification
  • Signal words, such as “Warning” and “Danger”
  • Pictograms
  • Hazard statement
  • Response

Note that the use of signal words and pictograms doesn’t necessarily imply any change to product formulations, and supplemental product information can be included as needed. Click here for TRSA’s original article on OSHA’s ruling, which includes links to a sample HCS label with the required elements. For more information, visit