OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is now strengthened, having been unified with the global standard, the UN-promulgated Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
The Hazard Communication Standard is an OSHA standard that is aimed at ensuring safety for workers who are employed in the chemicals industry or those who are constantly exposed to hazardous chemicals. This standard, as the name suggests, is a set of communication signs and signals that convey the nature of dangers a chemical poses. It is a way of classifying chemicals through labels and safety sheets, making it easy for workers to use these to identify the presence of chemicals of a hazardous nature.
The highlight of the new OSHA Hazard Communication Standard is that it is now aligned to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), a global standard set out by the United Nations.
As a result of this harmonization, there is now a more uniform, coherent and common approach in the classification of chemicals, as well as the communication of hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. This revised standard, when implemented, is set to augment the overall quality of hazard information relating to chemicals at the workplace.
OSHA believes that workers benefit greatly by this fusion of OSHA and global UN standards, as it is now easier for them to read and interpret information about the handling and use of hazardous chemicals, which they are exposed to on a day-to-day basis.
In addition, the new Hazard Communication Standard, since it is blended to the UN standard, will help trade globally. This it does by reducing global trade barriers and improving productivity at the workplaces that use and store hazardous chemicals. Periodic updates of these data sheets and labels for chemicals, which is a requirement of the hazard communication standard, will further reinforce safety standards.
At its core, the Hazard Communication Standard requires employers to make information of information relating to hazardous chemicals available to employees in a simple and comprehensible manner and format.