By now, you’re probably very familiar with the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new standard for chemical safety covers more than 43 million workers who produce or handle hazardous chemicals. By clearly communicating these dangers, and standardizing hazard communication around the world, OSHA estimates it will prevent more than 500 workplace injuries and illnesses and 43 deaths each year.
By June 2015, all chemical manufacturers, distributors, importers and employers must comply with the new rules for labeling hazardous chemicals. By the following year, all other employers must have their final updates complete.
Here are five things you should review to ensure your workplace is in compliance with the new GHS standards:
Check the labels of all chemicals in your workplace. Does each one have a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement and precautionary statement?
This format ensures your workers can immediately recognize the dangers of each chemical that’s used on the job, even if there are language barriers.
Have all current employees received training on how to read the new chemical labels and understand what they mean?
Is there a procedure in place to train new employees?
If new chemicals are added or new hazards are identified, how easily can you roll out training updates?
Are you maintaining training records that are easy to provide upon request?
Keep in mind that an OSHA representative may ask for this documentation during an audit.
Using a digital safety database to manage training and maintain records makes it much easier to find what you need.
Safety Data Sheets
First, do all your chemical safety data sheets include each of the 16 sections? This uniform structure keeps all your safety data sheets consistent across the world, ensuring all workers can easily find the information they need no matter where they go.
Second, are your safety data sheets easy to access?
As you make the rounds, periodically ask employees to look up information on a particular chemical. How quickly can they find what they need? Is the information up to date?
When there are new chemicals or updates to existing ones, who is responsible for making those amendments? If you have multiple locations and you’re still keeping all your safety data sheets in binders, this can be a tedious task to manage.
Using safety data sheet software allows your changes to become visible immediately, because all employees can access your SDS documents by logging onto a computer no matter where they are.
BasicSafe’s SDS Software allows you to upload your safety data sheets from any file, and keep them in one place. They can be linked to other safety management programs and even indexed by where they are found on your site.
When you have a digital safety management system, you can meet new standards without creating extra work for yourself and your team. To learn more about BasicSafe’s SDS software works, watch a video demo.