Author: Richard DiNitto
Every year OSHA announces its most commonly cited violations against its many rules. In 2019, the list is nominally the same as in the past few years (https://www.osha.gov/Top_Ten_Standards.html). But as much as they publish this list and likewise punish offenders, companies all too often continue to play Russian Roulette with worker's lives and health and financial penalties.
Some of the violations relate to OSHA's Construction Standards under 29 CFR 1926 as well as to their rules for General Industry under 29 CFR 1910.
For now I will focus on those relating to general industry as they apply to almost all businesses. The most commonly cited violation OSHA reports relates to Hazard Communication rules under 1910.1200 which will be the subject of this article.
Under this rule, employers having chemicals onsite must ensure that information concerning the classified hazards of each chemical is communicated to all employees potentially affected by their presence onsite. Manufacturers or importers of chemicals must classify the hazards of chemicals which they produce or import and provide that classification and other information about the chemicals in Safety data Sheets. OSHA updated their rules in 2012 to be consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), Revision 3.
Generally, most employers know that if chemicals are onsite, that you must have copies of each chemical's Safety Data Sheet or SDS (formerly known as the Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS), make them available to all employees and train everyone on their hazards.
While not rocket science and ultimately rather simple, the rules are detailed and many operations miss important elements. A quick summary of the key items are noted below, but employers should take a close look at their programs for chemical management on an annual basis to make sure they are not getting into a potential violation area:
Having a written program or not, fulfilling the training requirements are the most common failures in organizations. The Isosceles Group is retained to develop, implement and maintain Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) and Environmental Management Systems (EMS) at industrial and commercial facilities. It also manages various EHS issues that affect the operation and expansion of such facilities.
If you would like The Isosceles Group to assist with EHS management at your facility, please contact Richard DiNitto at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 330-2800.