The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard requires containers of hazardous chemicals used or stored in the workplace to include a conspicuous, legible label in English (or other language spoken by the workers) communicating the hazards posed by the chemical. The new GHS rule includes modifications to label format and information requirements, including the obligation that labels display standard pictograms consisting of a symbol on a white background framed within a red border and represents a distinct hazard(s). The pictogram on the label is determined by the chemical hazard classification. As of June 1, 2015, current Hazcom labels will have to be replaced by new GHS labels bearing the pictograms. And by June 1, 2016, the current Hazcom label will have to be phased out completely. In addition, all workers exposed to hazardous chemicals must have received safety information and training on the new labels, including pictograms, by Dec. 1, 2013—yes, that’s 2 years before full implementation of the label requirements.
The following Quickcard, which comes from OSHA, displays the 9 different pictograms used under GHS to describe a chemical’s hazards based on its classification. Distribute the Quickcard to workers as part of their initial GHS training to educate them about label requirements. Instruct workers to keep the Quickcard in their wallet and post it in a conspicuous place so workers can use it as an aid in reading the label and absorbing the important information conveyed by the pictograms and other label elements.