OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSHA was created as an act of congress in 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 19701 2 as an effort to both set standards for the industry and to enforce those standards with employers. 1 (Full Act)   2 (Summary)

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, or OSHA Hazcom Standard, was created with the original act and has been revised since in 2012 to be consistent with the standards set forth by the Globally Harmonized System1. The OSHA Hazcom Standard also paved the way for the OSHA Lab Standard2, which details specific laboratory standards that must be applied. 1 (Hazcom)   2 (Lab Safety Guide)

OSHA implements workplace safety inspections to ensure that employee rights are protected and employers provide safe and healthy work conditions for all employees.

When an incident occurs that requires employers or employees file a report, there are several OSHA forms provided with detailed instructions to allow an injury to be addressed and resolved as quickly as possible. These forms are often referred to generically as the OSHA Incident Report Form, however there are several forms to cover several different types of incidents. Those forms can be found here.

The OSHA Recordkeeping Rule1 requires that the forms filled out for accidents are retained in the company records for at least 5 years, providing copies of those forms to both current or former employees or their representatives. 1 (Record keeping)

The OSHA Chemical Hygiene Plan1, sometimes referred to as a Safety Management Plan, is a statement, written by employers who have hazardous chemicals in house, available for employees that covers any manor of issues regarding equipment, personal protective equipment, established procedures, and work practices. 1 (Chemical Hygiene Plan)

OSHA Labeling Requirements are a set of required pieces of data which must be printed on labels of chemicals. These requirements bring OSHA’s laws in sync with the GHS (Globally Harmonized System) enacted in the EU.

OSHA SDS Requirements are a set fields that must be present in the documentation. Those requirements include identification, hazard(s) identification, composition/information on ingredients, first-aide measures, fire-fighting measures, accidental release measures, handling and storage, exposure controls/personal protection, physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity, toxicological information, and ‘other’ including date of preparation or last revision. Non-mandatory sections are ecological information, disposal considerations, and transport information. The layout of the sections varies from sheet to sheet but all presented information should be clearly sectioned for the user to locate what they need.

OSHA MSDS Binder Requirements1 set forth the rule that MSDSs must be accessible to employees in their work areas with current MSDSs for each chemical used on the worksite. 1 (Chemical Hygiene Plan)

MSDS – Material Safety Data Sheets

Material Safety Data Sheets, now known only as Safety Data Sheets.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) have been updated to now be known as Safety Data Sheets (SDS). MSDS sheets have nine specific data points on them, but failed to adhere to the standards set forth with GHS, which is why they have been replaced by SDS sheets.

MSDS Format – on June 1, 2015, the Hazard Communication Standard requires that SDSs have uniform formatting, detailing each of the safety data sheet sections along with the necessary information.

GHS – The Globally Harmonized System

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification of Labeling of Chemicals was enacted in the EU in 2003. Since then, the United States of America have updated the laws and regulations within OSHA to correspond with the requirements set forth by GHS.

GHS has many regulations that overlap those of OSHA, and has 3 core goals for the organization1 1 (GHS Goals Guide):

  • Defining health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals
  • Creating classification processes that use available data on chemicals for comparison with the defined hazard criteria.
  • Communicating hazard information, as well as protective measures, on labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).