Last December was the deadline for training workers on the new Globally Harmonized System. Now OSHA wants you to turn your attention to updating your Hazard Communications plan to include the new GHS approach.
This week OSHA released two new documents to help guide companies in meeting the compliance requirements for GHS:
- “Hazard Communication: Small Entity Compliance Guide for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals” and
- “Steps to an Effective Hazardous Communication Program for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals”
OSHA says they offer employers “clear steps to create an effective hazard communication program — including a sample program and a quick guide to hazard communication training.”
Why the big push? The transition to the international GHS standard has a number of deadlines.
- December, 2013: Companies had to train workers on the new GHS changes.
- June, 2015: Manufacturers have to have their new labeling and data sheet completed.
- December 2015: All shipped hazardous chemicals must use the new formats.
OSHA wants to make sure companies are staying ahead of the deadlines.
The training deadline was the part that everyone had their eyes on because it carried the threat of penalties if workers are not trained. So far there has not been much word of OSHA fining companies that have not done the training. However, An OSHA official told a conference last week that the agency’s enforcement division is developing a compliance directive on the standard. That would guide OSHA’s enforcement actions against companies that didn’t bother to train.
Why the delay on enforcement? Call it a gift for procrastinators. It is not uncommon for agencies to give industry a short grace period when a new regulation comes out so that companies have a chance to come into compliance.