OSHA has announced a final rule updating its Hazard Communication Standard (again), effective July 19, 2024. Here is a breakdown of what businesses need to know:

Changes in the Updated Hazard Communication Standard

1) Comprehensive Labeling on Small Packaging

Labels must now include detailed hazard descriptions and precautionary statements which must be tailored to be legible and comprehensive even on small-sized packages.

2) Enhanced Safety Data Sheets

The format and content of safety data sheets are standardized to provide specific, detailed information on the chemical’s hazards, including clearer instructions on handling emergencies.

3) Access to Information Despite Trade Secrets

Necessary hazard information must be available on safety data sheets even when protecting trade secrets.

4) Refined Hazard Classification Process

    • The update introduces a more precise hazard classification system, which enhances the accuracy of hazard data presented on labels and safety data sheets. It introduces specific classes like desensitized explosives and pyrophoric gases, and sets detailed criteria for evaluating hazards, including quantitative toxicity thresholds and physical hazard assessments.

5) Updated Precautionary Statements

Precautionary statements must now be specific to the hazards of the chemical in question and provide detailed guidance on safe handling, storage, and disposal practices.

These revisions aim to enhance the way hazardous chemicals are classified, labeled, and documented while providing clearer information to safeguard workers and improve emergency response procedures. Businesses must thoroughly update their protocols and training processes to comply with these new standards by July 19, 2024.