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ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has made changes to the Hazard Communication Standards to comply with the mandates of the Global Harmonized System.

The changes employees need to know are simple: Know the hazards and identities of the chemicals you might be exposed to when working.

When employees have information about the chemicals being used, they can take steps to reduce exposures and maintain safe work practices. These efforts will help prevent the occurrence of work-related illnesses and injuries caused by chemicals.

OSHA designed the Hazard Communication Standard to provide employees with the information they need to understand.

The new formatting of the safety data sheets requires manufacturers to have a minimum 16 paragraphs on each SDS for hazardous materials.

Each paragraph is standardized with specific information and, overall, this process helps employees to find information easier.

Each SDS will have standard headings to follow:

1. Identification

2. Hazard Identification

3. Composition/ Information on ingredients

4. First-aid measures

5. Fire-fighting measures

6. Accidental release measures

7. Handling and storage

8. Exposure controls/personal protection

9. Physical and chemical properties

10. Stability and reactivity

11. Toxicological information

12. Ecological information

13. Disposal considerations

14. Transport information

15. Regulatory information

16. Other information

All industrial cost centers and shops shall have a SDS binder available in the work area where hazardous materials are used or stored.

The SDS binder will contain an index of each hazardous material along with a current SDS for each material.

Employees must be familiar with the hazardous materials in the work area and the protective measures necessary for their safe use.

If you're new to a shop or process or working with a new product, find the SDS binder and become familiar with the hazards associated with the products being utilized.

Wear the prescribed personal protective equipment when handling hazardous chemicals. The SDS will state what exposures controls and personal protection are required when working with the product.

Ensure hazardous materials are closed and properly stored when not in use.

Use extreme caution when using flammable hazardous materials and store them in an approved flammable cabinet.

Follow recognized and acceptable personal hygiene and good work habits around chemicals. Wash your hands before and after breaks and never consume food or drink in areas where hazardous chemicals are handled.

Notify your immediate supervisor of any unlabeled containers, missing SDSs or hazardous conditions involving hazardous materials.

Keep labels on shipped containers.

No labels shall be removed, defaced or in any other way rendered illegible on any container containing hazardous materials.

Labels found to be damaged or illegible, shall be replaced immediately.

Apply the appropriate hazard warnings using the Globally Harmonized System signal words, hazard statements, pictograms and precautionary statements.

Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category.

Pictograms are graphic symbols used to communicate specific information about the hazards of a chemical.

The required pictograms consist of a red square frame set at a point with a black hazard symbol on a white background, sufficiently wide to be clearly visible.

The pictograms OSHA has adopted improve worker safety and health, conform to the GHS and are used worldwide.

While the GHS uses a total of nine pictograms, OSHA will only enforce the use of eight.

The environmental pictogram is not mandatory, but may be used to provide additional information.

Employees may see the ninth symbol on a label because label preparers may choose to add the environment pictogram as supplementary information.

Anniston Army Depot also has to comply with the requirements of the ISO 14001 standards.

The depot has an upcoming ISO 14001 audit in November 2016 to evaluate our Hazard Communication Program.

Included in the ISO 14001 audit are inspection requirements of hazardous communication and the use of the GHS pictogram identification.

A few of the important areas auditors inspect are the use of pictograms on storage containers.

Auditors check on the proper storage of hazardous materials to ensure all materials are compatible with one another.

They also inspect flammable cabinets for current inventories, hazardous material labeling and ensuring only flammable items are stored inside the cabinet.

Another area inspected is the proper identification of hazardous materials by name and associated hazards for health, fire, reactivity and required PPE or other additional information.

Be familiar with the location of your SDS binder and the pictograms on products you use.

If you need assistance with your SDSs or a copy of the GHS pictogram poster, stop by the Industrial Safety Office or call Ext. 7541.