By Kelly O. Scott, Esq., Head of Employment Law Department
Over the next few years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be phasing in certain safety requirements designed to align its Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. These include new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets (SDS) (formerly known as “Material Safety Data Sheets”). The changes will improve worker understanding of the hazards associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
The first compliance deadline is December 1, 2013. By that time employers are required to train all employees on new label elements and on the SDS format. Specific training requirements include information on how the hazardous chemical is identified, the use of signal words, the meaning of pictograms, and the reading of hazard and precautionary statements. Employees must be given examples of how to use labels in the workplace and be provided with a general understanding of how the various elements work together on a label. Employees must also be made familiar with the format of the SDS and how the information on the label relates to the SDS. The training must be presented in a manner and language that employees can understand.
A Fact Sheet on the training requirements is available here.
This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2014. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.
If you have any questions about this article, contact the writer directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it. If you have any questions regarding this blog or your life in general, contact Kelly O. Scott, Esq., commander in chief of this blog and Head Honcho (official legal title) of ECJ’s Employment Law Department, at (310) 281-6348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.