The Compliance Guide to the OSHA GHS Standard

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The Compliance Guide to the OSHA GHS Standard

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The Compliance Guide to the OSHA GHS Standard for Hazardous Chemical Labeling

Marge McFarlane

The Hazard Communication standard is one of the most cited and penalized OSHA standards. OSHA has revamped the standard by adopting the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The changes are intended to improve safety and save lives, but will require a well-planned process on the part of healthcare organizations to be effective.

In December 2013, OSHA’s new requirements for labeling chemicals in the workplace went into effect. While the changes will make these requirements more user-friendly, administrators face implementation challenges. Though the changes are expected to prevent numerous injuries and illnesses as well, healthcare organizations will need a successful process to make these changes happen.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
    • Background
    • Globally Harmonized System Rationale
    • Hazard Communication Elements Still in Effect
  • Section 1: Safety Data Sheets
    • Advantage of a Uniform Format
    • Sections 1–4
    • Sections 5–8
    • Sections 9–12
    • Sections 13–16
  • Section 2: Revised Hazard Classification and Pictograms
    • Determining Hazard Classification (Health, Flammability, Instability)
    • Pictograms
  • Section 3: New Labeling System Requirements
    • Product Identifiers
    • Pictograms
    • Signal Words
    • Hazard Statement(s)
    • Precautionary Statement(s)
      • Prevention
      • Response
      • Storage
      • Disposal
    • Contact Information
  • Section 4: Timeline for Implementation and Next Steps
  • Appendix: References and Tools


About the Author:

Marge McFarlane, PhD, MT (ASCP), CHSP, CHFM, HEM, MEP, CHEP, is an independent safety consultant with more than 38 years of healthcare experience. She has provided education, emergency management and safety plan review, life safety, and infection prevention facility surveys for healthcare and businesses in Wisconsin and across the nation since 2005.

Prior to working with the State of Wisconsin Hospital Preparedness Program, McFarlane led the environment of care committee at a general medical-surgical hospital in northwestern Wisconsin. She has been involved in hospital safety activities since 1990, serving as lab safety officer as well as an occupational safety resource for local manufacturing businesses. She is a frequent presenter in the areas of safety, bloodborne pathogens, environment of care, infection control for construction, emergency management, HICS, and hospital exercise design. McFarlane is also a reviewer for the HCPro medical and dental OSHA manuals and OSHA e-learning programs.

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Published: April 2014