California employers have until Dec. 1, 2013, to train employees on the new hazard label elements and safety data sheet format required by the Cal/OSHA Hazard Communication Regulation. Cal/OSHA recently amended the state regulation to conform to federal regulation and the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Employers also need to update their hazard communication plans.
Training resources are available on the CDA Compass, as is an updated sample hazard communication plan. The training resources include two PowerPoint presentations that can be adapted for in-office training. One presentation can be used to update current employees on the new requirements. The other presentation is intended to train new employees on all aspects of hazard communication in the dental practice. A thorough understanding of the new system by all staff is the goal of the required training.
Changes to the Hazard Communication Regulation include:
- New label elements: Manufacturers and importers are required to provide a label that includes a pictogram that conveys specific hazard information; a signal word that indicates the relative level of hazard severity; a hazard statement that describes the nature of the hazard; and a precautionary statement that describes recommended measures to take to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to the hazardous chemical. Employers must ensure all containers of hazardous substances are properly labeled. Pictograms must have a red square frame with a black hazard symbol on a white background. Refer to your hazard communication plan for more information.
- Specific format for safety data sheets: Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are now known as safety data sheets (SDS). SDS are to be provided by manufacturers and importers in a specified 16-section format and order of information. Employers are required to train employees on how to read the new SDS.
Although manufacturers and importers have until Dec. 1, 2015, to implement new label requirements and revise SDS, employers are seeing the new labels and SDS now and must ensure their employees know how to read them and to use the information at the workplace. Employers have until June 1, 2016, to update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs.