Course 105 Introduction to Hazard Communication

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Scope of 1910.1200
The GHS Guidelines

Introduction

More than 30 million workers are potentially exposed to one or more chemical hazards in the workplace. There are an estimated 650,000 existing hazardous chemical products and hundreds of new ones are being introduced annually. This poses a serious challenge for employers as well as a health and safety hazard for exposed employees.

Because of the seriousness of these safety and health problems, and because many employers and employees know little or nothing about them, OSHA issued the original Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) in 1994. The basic goal of the standard is to be sure employers and employees know about work hazards and how to protect themselves; this should help to reduce the incidence of chemical source illness and injuries. As you can see below, Hazard Communication is close to the top of OSHA's Top Ten Cited Standards and is consistently at or near the top each year.

OSHA's Top 10

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2016:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolding
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders, construction
  8. Machine guarding (machines, general requirements, general industry)
  9. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment
  10. Electrical systems design, general requirements

In March 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its Hazard Communication Standard to align it with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

This course will discuss OSHA's 2012 Hazard Communication Standard and how employees can protect themselves from the dangers of hazardous chemicals in their work environment.

Controls and Labeling

The Hazard Communication Standard

Scope of 1910.1200
The GHS Process

If you are exposed to hazardous chemicals at work, OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) will help you identity the hazards of those materials and how to use them safely. Your employer must also teach you about the protective measures when working with hazardous chemicals. When you have this important information, you'll be able to take steps to protect yourself from the negative effects caused by accidental exposure.

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires employers and manufacturers to develop and distribute chemical information as described below:

  • Chemical manufacturers and importers must classify the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers.
  • Employers with classified hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train workers to safely handle those chemicals.

As mentioned above, the standard requires your employer to provide information to employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, by means of:

  1. a hazard communication program,
  2. labels and other forms of warning,
  3. safety data sheets, and
  4. information and training.

Employers who do not produce or import chemicals need only focus on those parts of this rule that deal with establishing a workplace program and communicating information to their workers.

Quiz Instructions

Read the material in each section to discover the correct answer to questions. After answering all questions, click on the "Submit" button to get your score. If nothing happens when you click the button, make sure you answered all questions and then click the button again. You can also change your answers and resubmit to improve the score. Do not refresh the page or you'll have to answer all questions again.

1. Employers must provide information to employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, by each of the following means, except _____.

a. information and training
b. labels and other forms of warning
c. walkaround inspections
d. safety data sheets

Global Harmonization

Scope of 1910.1200
The UNECE "Purple Book"

The new HCS 2012 is now aligned with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) that provides many benefits, including:

  • Providing a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets;
  • Improving the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace;
  • Helping reduce trade barriers;
  • Productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use classified hazardous chemicals;
  • Providing cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for classified chemicals.

Historical note: The old HCS 1994 gave workers the right to know, but the new HCS 2012 gives workers the right to understand: this is a very important change in OSHA's approach.

2. The HCS 2012 provides a common and coherent approach to _____ chemicals and communicating hazard information.

a. classifying
b. distributing
c. manufacturing
d. importing

Hazardous Substances and Chemicals

manuf
Chemical manufacturers and importers must evaluate chemicals.

OSHA has defined the term "substances" as chemical elements and their compounds in the natural state or obtained by any production process, including any additive necessary to preserve the stability of the product and any impurities deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition.

For the purposes of the HCS, a hazardous chemical means any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.

Physical hazards - a chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects:

  • explosive
  • flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids)
  • oxidizer (liquid, solid or gas)
  • self-reactive; pyrophoric (liquid or solid)
  • self-heating
  • organic peroxide
  • corrosive to metal
  • gas under pressure or
  • in contact with water emits flammable gas

See Appendix B to 1910.1200 -- Physical Hazard Criteria.

Health hazard - a chemical which is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects:

  • acute toxicity (any route of exposure)
  • skin corrosion or irritation
  • serious eye damage or eye irritation
  • respiratory or skin sensitization
  • germ cell mutagenicity
  • carcinogenicity
  • reproductive toxicity
  • specific target organ toxicity (single or repeated exposure) or
  • aspiration hazard

The criteria for determining whether a chemical is classified as a health hazard are detailed in 1910.1200, Appendix A - Health Hazard Criteria.

3. Under the HCS 2012, which of the following is an example of a physical hazard?

a. Reproductive toxicity
b. Skin irritant
c. Corrosive to metal
d. Carcinogen
paint
Hazardous mists produce vapors when spray painting.

Forms of Hazardous Chemicals

You might think that the chemicals which apply to the rule are those in liquid, gas or particulate form. But, the standard's definition of "chemical" is much broader than that commonly used. According to the HCS, chemicals that apply may exist in one of many forms:

Dusts - are finely divided particles. Example - wood dust.

Fumes - are even smaller particles usually formed when solid metal is heated and vaporized, and then condenses as tiny particles.

Fibers - are similar to dusts but are of an elongated shape. Examples - asbestos and fiberglass.

Mists - are liquid droplets that have been sprayed into the atmosphere.

Vapors - are gases formed when liquid evaporates.

Gases - are substances that are normally airborne at room temperature. A vapor is the gaseous phase of a substance which is a normally a liquid or solid at room temperature.

Solids - such as metal, treated wood, plastic.

Liquids - the most common form in the workplace.

4. Which of the following are small particles, usually formed when solid metal is heated and vaporized and then condenses as tiny particles?

a. Mists
b. Vapors
c. Gases
d. Fumes

Chemical Effects

Effects of Hazardous Chemicals

The effects chemicals have on the various organs of the human body depend on several important factors:

  1. The form of the chemical: Is the chemical a solid, liquid, or gas?
  2. The route of entry, or how the chemical contacts the body: is it ingested, inhaled, absorbed or injected?
  3. The dose, or amount, the body receives: How much chemical makes its way into the body?
  4. The toxicity: How poisonous is the chemical?

Routes of Entry

Silica Routes of Entry

Another important task when assessing the workplace for chemical hazards is to determine the route(s) of entry the chemicals may take. If we know the route(s) of entry, we can then determine appropriate engineering, administrative, and PPE controls to eliminate or reduce the exposure. The four common routes of entry are:

  1. Ingestion: Do we eat or drink it?
  2. Inhalation: Do we breathe it in? This is the most common route of entry.
  3. Absorption: Does it pass through the skin, eyes or other membranes?
  4. Injection: Does it enter through a puncture or cut?

5. What is the most common route of entry for hazardous substances?

a. Ingestion
b. Inhalation
c. Absorption
d. Injection

Chemical Hazard Control Strategies

The Hierarchy of Controls

Hazardous substances can be used safely in workplaces if adequate control strategies are used to prevent exposure to those chemicals. To eliminate or reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals, an effective protocol called the "Hierarchy of Controls" has been developed. When you determine during a workplace assessment that exposure to harmful levels of hazardous chemicals is present, try to eliminate or reduce that exposure using the following strategies in the following order:

The first three strategies focus on doing something with the hazard.

  1. Elimination: The best solution is to totally eliminate hazardous substances in the workplace.
  2. Substitution: Substitution is the next-best solution. Replace a toxic substance with a less-toxic substance. If you can't get rid of the toxic substances, you may be able to replace them with substances that are at least less toxic.
  3. Engineering Controls: Redesign or modify processes that use toxic chemicals to eliminate or reduce exposure to the chemical hazard itself.

The last two strategies focus on doing something with behaviors to reduce exposure to the hazard.

  1. Administrative Controls: Change work procedures to reduce the duration, frequency, and severity of exposure to the chemical hazard. The chemical hazard is not eliminated or reduced using this strategy. The primary focus is to incorporate safer work practices through written safety policies, rules, supervision and training. And that's a problem because you may have to regularly supervise employees as they perform a task. These controls work only so long as employees "behave" properly.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The use of PPE is probably the most common strategy, and mandatory when working with hazardous chemicals. PPE forms a barrier between worker and hazard. Once again, the chemical hazard is neither eliminated nor reduced, and a high reliance is placed on appropriate use of PPE for this strategy to be successful.

Remember, the first question you want to ask is, "How can I eliminate, reduce, or engineer out the hazard?" Hopefully you'll be able to eliminate the hazard or reduce it to the point where safe behaviors or PPE won't be necessary.

6. Under the Hierarchy of Controls, elimination, substitution, and engineering controls are given higher priority because _____.

a. they are most effective in manipulating behaviors
b. they focus on the greatest number of causes for accidents
c. they are used when behaviors can't be effectively controlled
d. they focus on doing something with the hazard

Types of Containers and Labels

primary label
Shipped/Primary Containers

Container labeling can be a very effective method to communicate the physical and health hazards of chemicals used in the workplace. The information on a container label will vary depending on what type of container it is and how it is used. We will discuss labeling requirements under the HCS 2012 labeling requirements in this section.

We'll take a look at the labeling requirements for each of the four types of containers listed below:

  • Shipped/Primary containers
  • Workplace/Secondary containers
  • Stationary containers
  • Portable containers

Check out this short audio clip by Dan Clark of the theSafetyBrief.com that discusses important questions about the new labeling requirements.

To learn more about the four types of container labels and associated requirements, download the OSHA Brief, Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms.

7. All of the following are types of containers described within the HCS 20102, except _____.

a. inflatable containers
b. workplace/Secondary containers
c. shipped/Primary containers
d. portable containers

Shipped - Primary Container Label Requirements

sample label
Sample GHS Label

Under the new HCS 2012, labels on containers shipped from manufacturers or distributors must be labeled, tagged or marked with the following six items:

  1. Product Identifier - This should include the chemical identity of the substance.
  2. Signal word - Signal words used in GHS are "Danger" and "Warning." Danger is for the more severe hazard categories.
  3. Hazard Statements - This is a phrase assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazards of a hazardous product, and the degree of the hazard.
  4. Pictograms - These include symbols plus other elements, such as a border, background pattern or color that conveys specific information.
  5. Precautionary statements - These are phrases (and/or pictograms) that describe the recommended measures to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous product.
  6. Supplier identification - This contains the name, address, and telephone number of the manufacturer or supplier of the substance or mixture.

Workplace or Secondary Container Labeling

How to Know When You Need GHS Labels for Secondary Containers

Most employers use the primary containers they purchase to store and use chemicals. However, they may also use their own containers such as coffee cans, drums, plastic jugs, spray bottles, etc. to store and use smaller quantities of chemicals they purchase. These are called workplace or secondary containers.

Make sure your secondary containers are properly labeled, not only to protect employees, but to avoid OSHA citations. One of the most frequent citations related to HCS 2012 is "improperly labeled secondary containers." OSHA sees this all of the time, and whatever OSHA sees the most, they cite the most. Remember that.

The employer must ensure that each workplace or secondary container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is labeled, tagged or marked with either:

  • The information required on shipped container labels; or,
  • Product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemical.

8. What is the most common OSHA citation related to the HCS 2012 standard?

a. Lack of proper SDS documentation
b. Use of primary containers in the workplace
c. Improperly labeled secondary containers
d. Insufficient personal protective equipment

Portable Container Labeling

It is important to know portable containers must be under the positive control of the employee using it. If the employee walks away from the container and loses control of the chemical, it must be labeled as a workplace/secondary container.

Portable containers are used to transfer hazardous chemicals from labeled containers, and are intended only for the immediate use of the employee who performs the transfer. The employer is not required to label portable containers into which hazardous chemicals are transferred from labeled containers, and which are intended only for the immediate use of the employee who performs the transfer.

Drugs which are dispensed by a pharmacy to a health care provider for direct administration to a patient are exempted from labeling.

Labeling Solid Materials

secondary container
Railroad ties - good example of solid materials needing an SDS

For solid metal (such as a steel beam or a metal casting), solid wood, or plastic items that are not exempted as articles due to their downstream use, or shipments of whole grain, the required label may be transmitted to the customer at the time of the initial shipment, and need not be included with subsequent shipments to the same employer unless the information on the label changes.

For example, treated lumber is covered since the lumber is not completely cured at the time of shipment and the hazardous chemical will, to a varying degree, offgas during shipment and be available for exposure to employees. Railroad ties treated with creosote should have an accompanying safety data sheet (SDS) when shipped.

9. Why would treated lumber be required to have a shipped/primary label with initial shipment?

a. Employees could be exposed to chemical offgas
b. Because all solid material must be labeled
c. The lumber is not considered to be a solid
d. Since the lumber might burn, it needs a label

HCS 2012 Pictogram Requirements

The HCS 2012 requires GHS pictograms on labels to alert users of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed. Each pictogram consists of a symbol on a white background framed within a red border and represents a distinct hazard(s). The pictogram on the label is determined by the chemical hazard classification.

HCS Pictograms and Hazards

Health Hazard
Health Pictogram
  • Carcinogen
  • Mutagenicity
  • Reproductive Toxicity
  • Respiratory Sensitizer
  • Target Organ Toxicity
  • Aspiration Toxicity
Flame
Health Pictogram
  • Flammables
  • Pyrophorics
  • Self-Heating
  • Emits Flammable Gas
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides
Exclamation Mark
Health Pictogram
  • Irritant (skin and eye)
  • Skin Sensitizer
  • Acute Toxicity
  • Narcotic Effects
  • Respiratory Tract Irritant
  • Hazardous to Ozone Layer (Non-Mandatory)
Gas Cylinder
Health Pictogram
  • Gases Under Pressure
Corrosion
Health Pictogram
  • Skin Corrosion/Burns
  • Eye Damage
  • Corrosive to Metals
Exploding Bomb
Health Pictogram
  • Explosives
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides
Flame Over Circle
Health Pictogram
  • Oxidizers
Environment
Health Pictogram
  • Aquatic Toxicity
Skull and Crossbones
Health Pictogram
  • Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)

10. If you saw a container with a pictogram with a skull and crossbones, what would it mean to you?

a. Target organ toxicity
b. Acute toxicity (fatal or toxic)
c. Carcinogenic
d. Toxic narcotic effects

Check your Work

Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the “Check Quiz Answers” button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.

Your quiz score is: ___%

Video

This Lab Safety Institute video gives a brief overview of the new GHS regulations and how these changes will impact HAZCOM in the USA and WHMIS in Canada.

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