OSHA Issues New Laboratory Safety Guidelines – With GHS Info – Safety Training Thursday

OSHA published its new Laboratory Safety Guidelines today, a 48 page document that nicely covers the various OSHA standards applicable to the laboratory environment. An important document for chemical hygiene officers, especially for high school and college laboratories, the standards covered in the guideline include:

  • The General Duty Clause
  • The Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450)
  • The Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  • The Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030),
  • The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard (29 CFR 1910.132)
  • The Eye and Face Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.133)
  • The Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134)
  • The Hand Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.138)
  • The Control of Hazardous Energy standard (29 CFR 1910.147)

Both the Laboratory Standard and the Hazard Communication Standard are primarily concerned with hazardous chemical safety and require the careful management of MSDSs and labels and a written plan. Regarding MSDSs, the Laboratory Standard says Material Safety Data Sheets must be maintained and readily accessible to laboratory workers.

The five key components of the Laboratory Standard are:

  1. Hazard identification
  2. Chemical Hygiene Plan
  3. Information and training
  4. Exposure monitoring
  5. Medical consultation and examination

An interesting component of the guidelines is the inclusion of information about the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling or GHS. OSHA has promised a revised Hazard Communication Standard to align with GHS for some time, however, the language in this document represents some of the strongest the agency has used in regards to its coming. OSHA states:

"The United States is participating in the Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling Chemicals (GHS) process and is planning to adopt the GHS in its Hazard Communication Standard."

It goes on to say:

"The most significant changes to the Hazard Communication standard will include changing terminology: “hazard determination” to “hazard classification” (along with related terms) and “material safety data sheet” to “safety data sheet.” The goal is that the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world. An international team of hazard communication experts developed GHS.

The biggest visible impact of the GHS is the appearance of and information required for labels and SDSs. Labels will require signal words, pictograms, precautionary statements and appropriate hazard statements."

That last sentence is particularly interesting because it confirms that OSHA is planning to make precautionary statements a standard element on safety labels. This is not only a change from the current labeling provisions, it is a change from the United Nations' version of GHS. For GHS watchers, it is a positive sign that OSHA intends to move forward with GHS alignment.

According to OSHA, “More than 500,000 workers are employed in laboratories in the U.S.”

MSDSonline has a number of online safety training solutions specifically geared toward safety in the laboratory. Our Laboratory Safety Series Library includes:

  • Laboratory Safety – Chemical Hygiene
  • Laboratory Safety – Corrosives
  • Laboratory Safety – Ergonomics
  • Laboratory Safety – Flammables
  • Laboratory Safety – Fume Hoods
  • Laboratory Safety – Personal Protective Equipment
  • Laboratory Safety – Physical Hazards
  • Laboratory Safety – Pollution Prevention, an Introduction
  • Laboratory Safety – Pressure Hazards
  • Laboratory Safety – Radiation Safety
  • Laboratory Safety – Reactives
  • Laboratory Safety – Safety Equipment
  • Laboratory Safety – Spill Control
  • Laboratory Safety – Toxics

Training Options
Call 1.888.362.2007, or visit Workplace Training for information about our on-demand training offering, including a list of available courses. If you’re interested in an option that does not require all employees to be present at the same time, you can take a pass on a classroom style format and consider an online solution.

- The MSDSonline Compliance Team-