Flight departments will have a new federal regulation to contend with regarding hazardous materials. New regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) mandate the training of thousands of flight department employees by December 1 to educate them on how to identify and protect themselves from hazardous chemicals used in the workplace. The Hazard Communication Standard will be fully implemented in 2016.
Osha revised its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ global chemical labeling system. According to Osha, the new standard, once implemented, will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and result in an estimated $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. businesses each year.
“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “Revising Osha’s Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace.”
The new standards incorporate labeling elements and a standardized format for safety data sheets (SDS), which were formerly known as material safety data sheets. According to Osha’s website, “All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.”
Training provided to employees must include information on the product identifier–the chemical name, code number or batch number as determined by the manufacturer, importer or distributor–on both the label and the SDS. A signal word–“Danger” for the more severe hazards or “Warning” for less severe hazards–is used on labels, along with a variety of pictograms and hazard statements describing the nature of the hazard.
Another element of the training program must address precautionary statements that describe recommended measures to minimize or reduce adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical or improper storage or handling. Labeling on hazardous material containers must include the name, address and phone number of the chemical manufacturer, distributor or importer. Training programs must show how that information might be used, such as to ensure proper storage of hazardous materials or to quickly obtain first-aid information when needed by employees or first responders.
Doug Carr, NBAA v-p for safety, security and operations, told AIN, “With something like worker protection we enter an area that balances what makes good sense with minimizing the amount of burden that a company has to endure. Practically speaking, everybody who’s subject to a regulation is subject to inspection and potential penalties. However, when we look at aviation today with respect to safety initiatives, I think the majority of our members are already doing what’s going to be required. I believe this new regulation will simply become a checkbox they have to tick off with each new employee.”
Carr said NBAA is exploring opportunities to help members comply with the December deadline.