CHICAGO — June 1 isn’t D-Day—but, then again, it sort of is as far as global chemical labeling standards and laundry operations are concerned.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)) requires that the chemical manufacturer, distributor or importer provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) (formerly known as MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheets) for each hazardous chemical to downstream users, such as commercial laundries, to communicate information on these hazards.
To clarify, OSHA has new standardized labels and forms and requirements for training plant employees on hazardous chemicals. The OSHA deadline to comply: June 1.
In regards to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, “these regulations are written and designed to protect the workers,” says Fred Schwarzmann, president, A.L. Wilson Chemical Co. “By being compliant, [laundries] are working to protect their workers and businesses.”
Operators must have new OSHA Safety Data Sheets (SDS) available, pictograms for individual products, new standard labels and employee training on hazardous chemicals in their work area.
“We don’t want to have an inspector come into a [laundry] and pick you as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ and get cited and fined,” says Schwarzmann.
“Pre-existing OSHA data sheets, employee training and labeling requirements have been around for decades,” he points out. “Today, we’re obligated to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard, but on June 1 a new updated standard becomes mandatory.
“We are evolving from an old standard to a new one.”
An OSHA newsletter indicates the agency wants its new materials to be “presented in a consistent, user-friendly way.”
Schwarzmann indicates that businesses can face steep fines, possibly in the $10,000-$15,000 range, if an OSHA inspector visits and cites a business for failure to comply.
OSHA headquarters in Washington was contacted, seeking comment on the Standard and its enforcement. Ultimately, the agency referred the publication to its Office of Communications. Multiple phone messages left there were not returned.
Information about the Hazard Communication Standard is available by visiting the OSHA website, www.osha.gov, or by calling 800-321-6742.
Download the pictogram and labels here: