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OSHA updates hazcom standard

June 12, 2015

By Craig Palmer

Washington – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently updated labeling requirements for safety data sheets, according to the ADA Practical Guide to OSHA Compliance. The update includes the development of internationally recognized pictograms warning users of chemical hazards.The ADA Practical Guide to OSHA Compliance is available at or by calling the ADA Member Service Center at 800.947.4746.

As of June 1, 2015, all labels should contain pictograms, signal words, hazard and precautionary statements, the product identifier and supplier identification. Employer staff training on the new label elements and safety data sheet formats is required. The SDS was formerly known as the material safety data sheet or MSDS.

The ADA manual offers further information on training requirements for the HC standard revised by OSHA in 2012 to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The June 1 effective date applies to manufacturers and importers developing HC standard-compliant safety data sheets and labels. Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes the specified elements. OSHA’s enforcement guidance memorandum includes this Q&A:

Q: I’m an employer and have not received updated SDSs or labels for some of the hazardous chemicals I use in my business. Will OSHA issue a citation to me?

A: No. Once you receive HCS 2012-compliant SDSs, you must maintain them [federal code citation]. Once you receive HCS 2012-compliant labels, you may either maintain them on the chemical containers or follow the workplace labeling requirements contained in [federal code citation]. For more information visit OSHA’s hazard communication website.

Employers must ensure that the safety data sheets are readily accessible to employees.

The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as in the former MSDS except that now the SDS is required to be presented in a consistent user-friendly, 16-section format, OSHA said.