There's a large governmental effort underway to improve the classification and labeling of products containing hazardous materials. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency in charge of safety and health legislation, announced earlier this year new regulations on how chemicals are classified and how the potential hazards of these chemicals are communicated to workers.
More than 32 million US workers are exposed to 650,000 hazardous chemical products, according to OSHA. These changes could reduce worker injuries and increase productivity, says the agency, and could save over half a billion dollars annually in the US alone.
Adopting the rules might seem daunting, but there are user-friendly, customizable options out there, according to a GreenBiz Group webcast held on Wednesday which provided companies guidance on how to comply.
About the rules
The new OSHA regulations conform to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Chemical Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, which has previously been adopted by the European Union. Countries in the Asia Pacific and South America have done so as well.
Under the new rules, any company company that sells products containing regulated hazardous substances must comply with the following by the middle of 2015:
- Reclassify its components and products according to the OSHA GHS hazard classification system
- Reauthor all of its safety data sheets
- Relabel all of its products
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