OSHA Publishes New Hazard Communication Standard by Muhammad Akram

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finally revised the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The revised standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it easier for employers to communicate with employees regarding chemical hazards by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard include:

  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Will replace current MSDS with a specified 16-section format.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels' elements and safety data sheet format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

To comply with OSHA's training requirement, EH&S has already begun incorporating these changes into the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene training program, which will introduce new employees to these changes as well as to employees attending during biannual refresher training. Laboratories should start replacing MSDS with SDS as manufacturers make them available and ensure that all their researchers have received required training. For more information please contact EH&S or visit: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/facts-hcs-ghs.html

Radioactive Waste Detection by Geno Silvestrini

To help identify radioactive materials that may have inadvertently contaminated solid waste, the University utilizes radiation monitors that have been installed in key areas where solid waste handling occurs. The monitors are able to detect solid waste that contains radiation at higher than naturally occurring levels, i.e. background. The monitors are programmed to electronically notify Public Safety and EH&S upon alarm activation. Protocol requires that any bag or container of solid waste that activates the monitor's alarm be isolated and secured for investigation by EH&S personnel. EH&S will attempt to identify the isotope in order to establish its half-life to determine further action. Short-lived isotopes are held in secure storage to allow for the waste to decay to a level indistinguishable from background; a common practice known as decay-in-storage. Long half-life isotopes would be managed for off-site disposal as radioactive waste.


sweat Editorial Staff: Kathleen Crowley, Chris Pettinato, Chris Pitoscia
Graphics, Design, Lay-out: Jean Lee
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