Digital Solutions Improve OSHA Hazard Communication Compliance

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In many industries, having hazardous chemicals in the workplace is both common and necessary for doing "business as usual." However, transmitting information to all personnel about classified hazardous chemicals in the workplace must occur regularly, according to the U.S. Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA). Also, chemicals must have proper labels and safety data sheets must be available within close reach in case of accidents. Traditional compliance methods have not proved highly effective since the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard consistently ranks in the top five most frequently violated safety standards every year. However, as digital technologies transform industrial operations across the U.S., organizations are adopting convenient, cost-effective digital solutions for safeguarding workplace personnel and improving OSHA Hazard Communication Standard compliance. Read on to learn more about the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, the high number of compliance violations every year, and the cost-effective digital solutions that will help your organization improve workplace safety and OSHA compliance.

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard

Ensuring all employers and employees understand the hazards of chemicals imported into or produced in the workplace is the main purpose of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) 29 CFR 1910.1200. Also, labeling requirements for hazardous chemicals must now be consistent with the United Nations (UN) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemical (GHS). Aligning the OSHA HCS with the UN GHS classification system helps reduce trade barriers and improves productivity for U.S. businesses regularly handling, storing, and using dangerous chemicals. The methods of classifying the potential risks of these chemicals and communicating this information to personnel may include:
  • Developing and maintaining a written hazard communication program, including a list of hazardous chemicals on-site
  • Properly labeling all hazardous chemical containers, including chemicals distributed to other locations
  • Preparing and distributing safety data sheets for all hazardous chemicals
  • Developing and implementing employee training programs about hazardous chemicals and appropriate protective measures

Digital Solutions Reduce Hazard Communication Violations

The OSHA HCS covers over 650,000 chemicals and 43 million workers in 5 million U.S. workplaces. In 2021, there were 1,947 violations, ranking the OSHA HCS No. 4 in the annual top 10 most-violated list. Digital solutions offer convenient, cost-effective methods for improving compliance and reducing OSHA hazard communication violations. Most Americans now carry internet-connected smartphones and/or tablets that offer immediate communication and instant access to information. Digitizing documentation simplifies listing, classifying, and labeling dangerous chemicals, significantly improving access to safety data sheets and employee training programs and facilitating all aspects of OSHA hazard communication compliance. Implementing a digital control of work system adds additional value by aligning work processes with control measures, leveraging a digitally empowered workforce to boost productivity, efficiency, and safety. This type of software integrates safety awareness with risk mitigation tools and graphical oversight, ensuring documentation of all activities and avoiding compliance violations.

Hazard Communication Compliance in Zone 1 Environments

Having instant mobile access to digital solutions dramatically reduces paperwork and manual forms of dissemination about perilous chemicals in the workplace. However, many industries storing, using, and distributing these chemicals are operating in Zone 1 environments where standard mobile phones and other smart devices are not legal. Only purpose-built and certified intrinsically safe smart devices are legal in Zone 1 locations. Regular smartphones, tablets, and other smart computing devices carry an inherent risk of generating sparks, potentially causing catastrophic explosions in Zone 1 environments.

Aegex Technologies Offers Zone 1 Digital Solutions

As a leading-edge digital design and engineering firm, Aegex Technologies offers purpose-built digital solutions for Zone 1 environments. Our aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablets are internationally certified for use in ATEX/IECEx Zone 1, C I, II, and III, and D1 environments. We offer a full spectrum of customizable industry-specific enterprise-class software applications that provide real-time communication, streamlined workflow, and full support for workplace safety and compliance measures in potentially explosive locations. If your organization is seeking digital solutions for improving compliance with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, Aegex digitization tools can help. For more information about Aegex Technologies' cost-effective digital solutions to safeguard workplace personnel and improve OSHA compliance, please contact us here.