Safety

Tip of the Week: Upcoming OSHA hazard communication change may make process more user- friendly

Hospital Safety Insider, March 31, 2011

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The following is an excerpt from the March issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety.

Plans by OSHA to make changes in its Hazard Communication standard concerning material safety data sheets (MSDS) should make life easier for hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

OSHA is scheduled to implement the new Hazard Communication standard by August 2011.

“Ultimately, I think this will be very helpful to hospitals and other healthcare facilities because it makes the whole MSDS concept a little more user-friendly,” says Steven MacArthur, safety consultant at The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Danvers, MA.

OSHA’s plan to adopt the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals into the standard is now in the final rule phase. Among other changes, the rule would require standardization of MSDS and warning labels. To read OSHA’s proposed change, visit www.dol.gov/osha/regs/unifiedagenda/fall2010/1218-AC20.htm.

Hospitals should look for final action regarding the Hazard Communication standard to occur in August, according to the semiannual regulatory agenda published in the December 20, 2010, Federal Register. Most of the other healthcare-related items on that agenda are still in the pre-rule stage, and therefore at least a year away.

Visit Briefings on Hospital Safety to read more.

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