New Safety Data Sheets & Labeling for Hazardous Chemicals

OSHA deadlines have come and gone. New deadlines are coming.

Chances are you haven’t met the deadline for employee training on new Safety Data Sheet and labeling formats. And more changes are coming quickly.

A Quick Overview

Potentially hazardous chemicals and products need labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to describe the hazards inside the package and what to do if something terrible happens. Yet countries communicate these these hazards differently, and as a result communication can require multiple labels and SDS to meet each country’s requirement. So, a plan was made to develop the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is the result of experts from different countries, international organizations and stakeholder groups working together and using some of the preexisting systems to negotiate one harmonized system. They put their recommendations into the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Hazard Classification and Labeling commonly referred to as the “Purple Book”. The Purple Book is not a regulation or a standard. Governments and regulatory bodies can choose to adopt all, part or none of those recommendations.

However, new criteria has been adopted by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classifying and communicating chemical hazards. The goal is for greater worker safety. And it is something you need to prepare for now.

The Immediate Issues – What You Need To Know Now

Effective December 1, 2013, employers should have trained their workers on the new label elements and the format of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly called the Material Safety Data Sheet. Chemical manufacturers and importers must comply with all aspects of the final rule including creating updated labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets by June 1, 2015. Distributors will be able to ship products with old labels and SDS until December 1, 2015. However, you will likely be seeing the new labels for products beginning to appear over the next several months. You will need to start collecting the new SDS as they become available.

In addition, all companies will have until June 1, 2016 to update any alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

Slide Products has been implementing these changes for some time, and you can find many OSHA compliant SDS already posted on our web site. We are also well ahead of deadlines for creating new OSHA compliant labeling. You will be seeing the new labels gradually replacing our old labels as we complete them, inventories of the old label are used up and the new labels work their way through the distribution system. Being well ahead of the OSHA deadlines will make it easier for you meet the new deadlines and have all the correct labeling and SDS in your facility.

Helpful links:

You can use the link below to read the OSHA Fact Sheet on Hazard Communication.