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OSHA Hazard Communication Standard Update
OSHA Hazard Communication Standard Update



To better protect workers from hazardous chemicals, the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its Hazard Communication Standard on March 26, 2012, aligning it with the United Nations' global chemical labeling system. The new standard, once implemented, will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and result in an estimated $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for US businesses each year.

The Hazard Communication Standard will be fully implemented in June of 2016 and benefit workers by reducing confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understanding of hazards, especially for low literacy workers. OSHA's standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad. While the final implementation date is not until 2016, employers should be aware of required training on labels, pictograms and Safety Data Sheets by December 1, 2013.

Regulations & Guidelines

Hazard Communication Final Rule published in the Federal Register, Volume 77, No. 58 on March 26, 2012

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Best Practices






Key Learnings

Important Deadlines:
12/1/2013: Employers must have trained employees on new label elements and safety data sheet format.

6/1/2015: Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors & employers must be in compliance with all modified provisions of final rule.

12/1/2015: Distributors shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a GHS label

6/1/2016: Employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

During the transition period to the effective completion dates noted in the standard, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers may comply with either 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.1200 (the final standard), the current standard or both.

Please note that there may be varying requirements in the implementation schedule, etc. in those states with State OSHA Programs.

Related Articles

(1) OSAP’s Infection Control in Practice Issue

(2) Preparing for Hazard Communication Changes in 2013 (RDH)


(1) Revised HazCom Standards

(2) Questions & Answers from OSHA

(3) Additional FAQs from OSHA on Hazard Communication

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Instructional Resources
Videos Revised Hazard Communication Video
Image Library

(1) Downloadable Pictograms

(2) QuickCards in English and Spanish

Fact Sheets

(1) December 1, 2013 Training Requirements Fact Sheet

(2) OSHA Brief on Labels & Pictograms

(3) Side-by-Side Comparison of Existing Standard vs. the Revised Standard 

Compliance Assistance

(1) Resources to help employers comply with and workers understand OSHA requirements and learn about OSHA's cooperative programs.

(2) Hazard Recognition, Control and Prevention page for Dentistry

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