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New HAZCOM Update Proposed for Expanded Employee Protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently proposed an update on their Hazard Communication Standard (HAZCOM) with the goal that making this revision could help protect employees from illness and exposure.

OSHA continuously looks to further improve the information provided on chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets, and this update would align with the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification (GHS) and Labelling of Chemicals. Individuals may submit comments identified by Docket No. OSHA-2019-0001, electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. The deadline for submitting comments is April 19, 2021.

Most recently updated in 2012, but stemming all the way back to the first draft in 1983, HAZCOM has set a safety standard for employees working with chemicals for over 35 years. This latest revision hopes to find a new approach to classifying chemicals. In compliance with the update in 2012, which had made chemical labeling and other information much easier to understand, OSHA now wants to make chemical awareness and safety more widespread. OSHA states that they hope employees will become much more conscious of the hazards surrounding them.

It is employer’s responsibility to make sure its workers are safe when handling chemicals, whether it’s in an office setting or a construction site.  HAZCOM courses are available for employers and employees so all involved in a project are certified.

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1 Dead, 10 Hospitalized After Chemical Incident at Massachusetts Buffalo Wild Wings

1 Dead, 10 Hospitalized After Chemical Incident at Massachusetts Buffalo Wild Wings – Proper Hazcomm Training Could Have Prevented This Tragedy

According to an article on People.com – a Buffalo Wild Wings employee in Burlington, Massachusetts, died on Thursday after he was exposed to fumes from a floor cleaner, officials said.

Emergency responders arrived at the restaurant on Thursday evening just after 5:30 p.m. after receiving a report of a “sick individual and a potential chemical release,” interim Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson.

The employee had been exposed to “a strong cleaning agent” while cleaning the floor of the restaurant. He told reporters that the cleaning product is called “Super 8” and contains sodium hypochlorite, which is a “high concentrate” of chlorine.

The importance of Hazcomm Training

Protecting workers from chemical hazards is of the utmost importance. Unlike other workplace hazards, chemical hazards can difficult to notice until it’s too late. Proper training could have prevented this unfortunate event.

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this, as OSHA named “Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) ” the 2nd most frequently cited standard in 2018.

Purpose of Hazcomm Training

OSHA’s website states:

The purpose of hazard communication training is to explain and reinforce the information presented to employees through the written mediums of labels and material safety data sheets, and to apply this information in their workplace. Labels and material safety data sheets will only be successful when employees understand the information presented and are aware of the actions to be taken to avoid or minimize exposure, and thus the occurrence of adverse effects.

Training helps to integrate and classify the many pieces of information that relate to chemical hazard communication. In a typical workplace, a worker may be confronted with posted hazard warnings, signs, tags, incoming labels, workplace labels, material safety data sheets (MSDSs), manuals explaining the company hazard communication program, lists of chemicals, and information furnished by the union. This wide variety of communications will differ in format, content and reading level. These differences can obscure the important hazard communication message. Training can reduce this background “noise” by presenting the necessary information in a structured and logical manner.

HazCom training requires the presence of hazardous chemicals be communicated to employees in a variety of ways, including:

  • Hazardous chemical classifications
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Labels, tags or signs
  • Information and training

Available Course to Protect Your Employees

We offer a course on The Global Harmonized System (GHS) is an International approach to hazard communication. It is based on major existing systems around the world, including OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazComm) and the chemical classification and labeling systems of other US agencies. This training program explains how to comply with the GHS changes and compliance requirements under the 2012 OSHA’s Hazardous Communication standard.

This program is aimed at the worker or handler of hazardous chemicals and provides the participants with general awareness training under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200. Each participant will leave the classroom with a general awareness of the GHS and how to apply it in their workplace. Within the program, the instructor will review OSHA’s 2012 HazComm standard and highlight the changes applicable under the new GHS standard.

Course topics we discuss include:

  • Overview of the Hazard Communication Standard Revisions origin and purpose
  • Management Leadership and Employee Involvement and Compliance timelines
  • Overview of GHS Globally Harmonized System
  • Benefits of GHS changes
  • Hazard Classification
  • Labeling and Supplier Label
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Program Evaluation & Training requirements
  • Special cases, Consumer Chemicals, Laboratories, and Samples

To learn more, visit our Hazcomm Safety Training Course and sign up today.