OSHA has a revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) that requires most employers to conduct mandatory training on new requirements for chemical labeling, as well as the Safety Data Sheets, by December 1, 2013.
OSHA’s revised HCS went into effect on May 25, 2012.  OSHA revised the standard so that it is in accordance with international standards.  The United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally accepted method of classifying and labeling hazardous chemicals, and the revised HCS adopts many of the GHS criteria for doing so.  Any employer that uses any type of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is subject to the communication and training requirements of the HCS.  OSHA has estimated that the revised standard impacts over 43 million workers in the United States.
Minnesota employers are also covered by the revised HCS since MN OSHA has adopted it.  Generally, training on hazardous chemicals and labeling in Minnesota is covered by MN OSHA’s Employee Right to Know (ERTK) law.  MN OSHA has information on its website about how Minnesota employers can incorporate the required HCS training into the already-required ERTK training, or as a stand-alone training program.  More information about the HCS and the required training can be found here and here.  Information about the requirements in Minnesota can be found here (click on the “Presentations” tab and see “HazCom training/PDF”).
Takeaway:  Minnesota employers should take note of this new mandatory training requirement and ensure that the required training is completed by the December 1, 2013 deadline.  It is common for MN OSHA to review employer training records to ensure that employers are complying with MN OSHA’s standards whenever MN OSHA conducts an inspection of an employer’s workplace.  Failure to complete required training and maintain appropriate records can, and often is, the basis for a citation by MN OSHA.