Training needed for new OSHA hazmat standards

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Marine facilities that handle hazardous chemicals will have to train employees on new label elements by Dec. 1 because of a change in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards.

The changes to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard are bringing the United States into alignment with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The Hazard Communication Standard in 1983 gave workers the “right to know,” but the new Globally Harmonized System gives workers the “right to understand,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Previous standards allowed chemical manufacturers and importers to convey hazard information on labels and material safety data sheets in whatever format they chose.

The modified standard provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards and specifies hazard communication elements for labeling and safety data sheets.

OSHA says the move increases safety and removes trade barriers.

The Connecticut Marine Trades Association is looking into having a seminar to "train the trainer" so businesses can better comply with the new regulations.

The compliance deadlines that follow the training deadline are set for 2015 and 2016. The OSHA website outlines a list of frequently asked questions.

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