Believe it not, the vast majority of us deal with chemistry in the workplace. No, I’m not talking about the romantic type of “chemistry”, I’m talking about actual chemicals in the workplace. (Just because it’s February, doesn’t mean everything is about love!)
OSHA’s hazard communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) regarding chemicals in the workplace applies to any business where workers may be exposed to hazardous chemicals. The standard requires:
- a written program (businesses often refer to this as a Haz Com policy);
- appropriate labeling;
- employee access to current Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly called material safety data sheets (MSDSs);
- employee training on the Haz Com policy;
- compliance with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of chemicals.
We are currently near the end of a 4-year phase-in period for compliance with GHS, with full implementation required by June 1, 2016. Don’t delay!
OSHA inspectors frequently cite the following Haz Com violations:
- failure to have a written program;
- inadequate or undocumented employee training;
- improper labeling on chemical containers; and
- missing, or lack of access to, SDSs.
Are you sure you’re in compliance? If not, consult www.osha.gov for more information or seek professional services. OSHA inspectors can visit your business at any time. Be ready!