OSHA safety changes

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2013

Hi Rose,
I have been informed that there will be OSHA safety changes that will take place this year that will affect my housekeeping operations and training program. Please share any information on the changes that I should know about.

Aloha Ian,
At our International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) Hawaii chapter meeting in January, information on OSHA’s safety changes for 2013 was shared with the members, who were advised to plan and prepare for the revisions that would impact their housekeeping employees. I’m pleased that others are sharing the information with housekeeping colleagues on the revisions of OSHA’s hazard communication standard (HCS).

The three major areas of change will be hazard classification, labels and safety data sheets (SDS).

Hazard Classification
The definitions of hazards have changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. These specific criteria will ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent and that labels and safety data sheets will be more accurate as a result.

The 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
The SDS will have a specified 16-section format. It is important to know the phase-in period of the revised hazard communication standard. There are several dates that will impact the changes to take place but Dec. 1, 2013 is an important date because that’s when all employees must be trained by employers on the changes.

OSHA is requiring that employees are trained on the new label elements (i.e., pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements and signal words) and SDS format by Dec. 1. Full compliance with the final rule will begin in 2015. OSHA believes that American workplaces will soon begin to receive labels and SDSs that are consistent with the GHS (Global Harmonized System), since many American and foreign chemical manufacturers have already begun to produce HazCom 2012/GHS-compliant labels and SDS. It is important to ensure that employees, as they begin to see the new labels and SDSS in their workplaces, will understand how to use them and access the information effectively.

For more information, go to www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ effectivedateshtml.

For planning and developing of a training program, mark the target date of Dec. 1. Begin research on the Internet, attend related safety seminars to attend and gather information to assist in developing a training program.

Consider joining our local IEHA Hawaii chapter on Oahu, or the recently chartered Maui chapter. The IEHA Hawaii chapter meets bi-monthly and has educational programs to inform and update members on the housekeeping industry’s management trends, technology, safety and labor law changes. Membership also provides important networking, fellowship and educational opportunities. Trade association membership provides professional, educational and personal growth for all housekeeping managers and benefits the employees, housekeeping department and the property’s overall operation.

For membership information, go to www.hawaii-ieha.org.

Happy New Year and Happy Housekeeping in 2013,
Rose Galera, CEH

Posted in Clean Talk Columns.

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