Not only is it a smart idea to make sure every employee is informed of chemical hazards in the workplace, it’s also the law! Many of us in the printing industry work with chemicals and materials on a daily basis, and under the Hazard Communication Standard, OSHA requires printing companies to identify hazardous chemicals and provide training to ensure that employees are working with these chemicals in a safe manner.

OSHA has made significant revisions to the Hazard Communication Standard, including replacing the Material Safety Data Sheet with the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). In response, we are making available to all members “need to know” information to stay in compliance with the new requirements and free tools to implement a Hazard Communication program to meet them.

If you’re familiar with the Safety—Know It, Live It poster series,you know these popular resources function as straightforward visual references to guides for employees providing critical safety information while they work. We’ve just added two new posters to the series, “Get to Know the Safety Data Sheet” and “Globally Harmonized System of Classification (GHS) Pictograms Quick Reference.”

Let’s dive deeper into the details of the new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) represented in the “Get to Know the Safety Data Sheet” poster. The “Get to Know the Safety Data Sheet” poster provides employees with a reference for what information can be found on an SDS and where to look for it.

Let’s look at some important facts about the revised Standard and new SDSs:

  • Safety Data Sheets are replacing Material Safety Data Sheets, and now have a mandatory uniform 16-section format.
  • Manufacturers and suppliers of chemicals are required to determine what hazards could be presented by their product, and they must inform you about those hazards on labels and SDSs.
  • Employers are required obtain an SDS for every hazardous chemical employees work with and to maintain them so they can be accessed.
  • On the SDS, you can find information on a variety of topics about the product, including physical and chemical properties, personal protection, handling, storage procedures, first aid procedures, and health effects in the event of exposure.
  • The safety posters are designed to be displayed in employee break rooms or in other common areas to reinforce key safety messages. Posters can also be placed near equipment, along production lines, or at entrances to production areas.

There are also new labeling procedures in the revised Standard which require that all labels must include a Product Identifier, Signal Word (such as DANGER), Hazard Statement, Pictogram, Precautionary Statement, and manufacturer contact information.

Employees must receive initial training on the new SDS and labeling requirements by December 1, 2013. For more information on the new Hazard Communication Standard and requirements, visit our Hazard Communication Guidance for Printing Operations webpage at

Finally, remember that you have a right to a safe work environment, and everyone has a role in keeping the workplace free of hazards. More information is available to you on the EHS Regulatory Compliance webpage.

Remember, that the first employee training deadline for the revised requirements was December 1, 2013, and look for the free Guide to Hazard Communication for Printing Operations and other training materials. To learn more, download our Safety—Know It, Live It posters today. Member login is required for the free download. For questions on these or other compliance resources, contact Gary Jones, Assistant Vice President, EHS Affairs, by clicking here.