OSHA has announced the revision to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) as well as related compliance deadlines affecting chemical manufacturers, distributors and employers. The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2012. The effective date of the final rule is 60 days after the date of publication.”

The revised HCS, which OSHA is calling HazCom 2012, is expected to affect every U.S. workplace with exposure to hazardous chemicals, and is estimated to cover over 5 million facilities and over 40 million workers. The first compliance date employers should be aware of is December 1, 2013, which is the date by which employees must be trained on the new label and SDS formats. OSHA is now calling this standard the “Right to Understand” updating the “Right to Know” concept behind the former HCS.

Manufacturers who must provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) with their products can begin to use the Hazcom 2012 standard immediately; by June 1, 2015, all products shipped by manufacturers must comply with the new SDS format and content requirements.

Because products with the new SDS format can begin to be received prior to June 15, 2015, employers must provide training to their employees on how to read and interpret the new SDS format. This training must be completed by December 1, 2013

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