OSHA requires training for all your employees by December 1, 2013. The requirement affects all your employees with potential exposure to hazardous chemicals and has to do with recent changes to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).OSHA's training requirement is just the first step toward ensuring that employees not only know about hazardous chemicals but can also understand the information related to hazardous chemicals. OSHA has adopted the Globally Harmonized System to meet this objective.
Globally Harmonized System (GHS)
Part of the best practice for the HCS includes “The United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, Revision 3.” Although this mouthful of a name sounds a bit like a ‘70s soft drink commercial (teaching the world to sing), the Globally Harmonized System will help protect employees worldwide from chemical hazards by making hazard communication more understandable.
One of the GHS’s features includes pictograms (simplified pictures) to communicate the health or physical hazard (or both) of each of the hundreds of thousands of hazardous chemicals used. The GHS refers to these hazards with pictograms. These GHS pictograms are white, diamond-shaped icons outlined in red with black illustrations in the center. The 8 pictograms that OSHA has adopted include:
- Health Hazard
- Exclamation Mark
- Exploding Bomb
- Gas Cylinder
- Flame Over Circle
- Skull and Crossbone
The actual pictograms and detailed GHS information are covered in the Steri-Safe Preferred and Select GHS Safety Meeting, available now.