With the hazard communication standard already a regular fixture on OSHA’s most frequently cited standards list, it’s more important now than ever before to understand how GHS affects your hazard communication obligations.
It’s important to remember that your hazard communication requirements will not be reduced by the Globally Harmonized System (GHS); they will simply be modified to support the new system.
Though implementing GHS does not involve a total rewrite of the hazcom standard, there are still a lot of changes coming your way. Pretty much everyone who uses hazardous chemicals has some responsibility…but some more than others.
- Chemical manufacturers and importers have some work to do around re-authoring MSDS and turning them into safety data sheets (SDSs). They also have to rewrite labels and warnings to make them GHS compliant.
- Resellers and distributors need to get the new SDSs and labels and distribute them to customers.
- And, of course, employers have plenty to prepare for, too.
Get Ready, Get Set
Here are 8 steps your organization can take during the phase-in period to prepare for full compliance with GHS:
- Have an hazard communication plan. Maintain a checklist of key plan components and review it annually.
- Inventory your on-site chemicals and make sure you have a complete library of MSDSs and SDSs as you get them.
- Prepare yourself for the eventual switchover from MSDS to SDS. If you’re still using paper, consider transitioning to electronic system.
- Make sure your alternative labeling system is GHS compliant.
- Start developing a training plan for your employees now. Have a plan and make sure employees are ready to read GHS compliant SDSs and labels.
- Stay current on OSHA, including federal, state and local requirements. Keep an eye on GHS, looking out for key dates that will have an impact on your plan. (Note: That’s where Safety.BLR.com can help. This would be a great time to check it out!)
- Request GHS-compliant SDSs from your chemical vendors. Talk to your chemical suppliers and ask about their plans to transition to GHS. Make sure your staff is on the lookout for SDSs with new shipments.
- Stay SARA compliant. Update local and state emergency response agencies when new chemical hazard information becomes available. (SARA is the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, which requires facilities who are subject to OSHA’s hazardous chemical requirements to submit (M)SDSs or a hazardous chemical list to local and state authorities.)
By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to preparing for the new requirements.
Stay on Top of Developments
During the next few weeks and months Safety.BLR.com will be featuring many more articles and other information about the Globally Harmonized System. As a subscriber to the website, you’ll be able to stay on top of all the latest developments.
You’ll also be able to keep up to date on other OSHA programs, the latest news in the field of workplace safety and health, and all those other pressing issues that affect how well you do your job.
It’s simple at Safety.BLR.com. You’ll quickly find the information you need, all reported and interpreted for you by our safety experts.
What’s more, this one-stop safety website is a fantastic resource for safety training materials on just about any topic you can imagine.
Training responsibilities become a snap with the website’s thousands of audio presentations, PowerPoints, prewritten safety meetings, toolbox talks, trainer’s guides, and much, much more. You’ll find training tools on more than 120 safety topics along with plain-English compliance analysis and other resources.
At a time when budget considerations are paramount, what makes more sense than an all-in-one safety training and compliance solution?
And BLR has revamped Safety.BLR.com to meet your needs even better. You’ll be amazed by all the features and functionality of the site. Highlights include:
- Side-by-Side State/Federal Compliance. By placing our state and federal regulatory analysis side by side, you easily see how to fully comply with both governmental entities.
- MSDS Library Expansion. The site now provides an immense library of 3.5 million MSDS and SDS forms, with about 10,000 more added or changed every week. Need one? Just call up the chemical by name, manufacturer, product group, or CAS number, then print it out.
- Newsletter Wizard. If you’ve ever wanted to publish a safety newsletter but felt lacking in editorial skills, this new addition is for you.
- Plan Builder. Select from our library of safety plans, customize them to suit your company’s needs, and assemble them into collections you can save in our personal library.
We’re pretty excited about Safety.BLR.com and all of its enhancements, and we’re eager for you to experience it, too. That’s why we’ve created a complimentary site tour, available here. It takes just 5 minutes.
If you like what you see, you’re invited to try the site at no cost and with no obligation. We’ll even give you a complimentary special report for doing so. Go here to take a 5-minute tour of Safety.BLR.com. It may be just what you’re looking for.