Tuesday, September 26, 2023

What Is a Secondary Label and What Makes It OSHA Compliant?

Did you know that after every 99 minutes, a worker dies as a result of work-related injuries? If this isn’t astonishing enough for you, then what else can scare you in this world? There is a need for employers to be more proactive to reduce work-related injuries.

If your company deals with hazardous chemicals, labelling secondary containers will go a long way as a preventive measure for these deaths. For the secondary label to be effective in its role, you must follow certain guidelines.

But before we delve into that, have you familiarized what these labels are? Read on to find out what a secondary label is. You’ll get to learn how to make these labels OSHA compliant too.

What Is a Secondary Label?

Manufacturers or distributors often label their products before they supply them. In ideal situations, businesses are supposed to use these products in their entirety from the initial packaging material. But, this isn’t always the case as the need to subdivide often arises.

Businesses may opt to store the chemical in other containers after the subdivision. A challenge arises during the storage of the subdivided part.

It’s quite difficult for you to find a packaging material that’s the same as the original one for storing the part that you’ve subdivided.

Most often, businesses resort to improvising. They store the chemical in any container that can handle the chemical.

If you’ve ever done this, then the original container was the primary container. The second container from the improvisation is the secondary container.

The procedure has some negative implications for the safety of the workers. For instance, a worker using the chemical in a secondary container for processes that the chemical isn’t meant for. Or workers mixing the content of the secondary container with reactants that react with it.

What’s clear is all these possibilities can lead to adverse situations such as unintended explosions. To mitigate against these occurrences, some rules govern the storage of chemicals in secondary containers. These rules fall under the Hazard Communication Standards.

Under these guidelines, the secondary label refers to the information that communicates the risks of a chemical that’s stored in a secondary container. The guideline aims to harmonize ways in which businesses communicate the identities and risks of chemicals to the workers to ensure the workplace remains safe.

Generally, the OSHA guidelines are aligned to the globally harmonized system of classification.

Steps to Take to Make Sure the Secondary Label is OSHA Compliant

OSHA requires that you label hazardous chemicals using six indicators. These indicators communicate the physical, health, and environmental hazards associated with a particular chemical.

Some of the steps that will increase your compliance with these guidelines include:

Beginning By Requesting the Safety Data Sheets

Manufacturers provide the safety data sheets whenever they supply you with hazardous chemicals. The safety data sheets are of importance because you won’t be able to create chemical labels that align with OSHA requirements.

These sheets are also integral when it comes to creating secondary labels because of the compliance aspect. It’s paramount to ensure that manufacturers provide these sheets in their updated form whenever you deal with them.

An updated form has all the information that you’d need to create secondary labels that’ll pass the inspection process. If you have trouble getting these forms from manufacturers, try consulting with online specialists for help.

Using Durable Labels for Legibility

So, you have been successful at getting the SDS from the manufacturer or an online specialist. And you’ve gone even further to identify all the elements that you need to include in the secondary label. What else can go wrong during the inspection day?

Well, there is a chance that the labels might fall off or get damaged before or during the inspection. This makes you a prime target for the regulatory body to flag you as a violator of the rules. It won’t matter if you’ve adhered to all of OSHA guidelines during the labeling.

Note that workers use secondary containers more. The containers are therefore susceptible to wear and tear within a shorter period.

For this reason, go for durable secondary labels that are waterproof. The labels should be able to resist damage from abrasions, chemicals, extreme temperatures, and UV rays. You need to work with labels that are designed for GHS labeling to be on the safe side.

Mitigating the Effects of Lead Time

Sometimes non-compliance arises out of factors that are beyond the control of the business. Take the case of a business that’s waiting for a supplier to give them the secondary labels. Then, inspection day reaches and the supplier can only provide excuses.

The inspector won’t be lenient on you by considering the factors that made you non-compliant. That is out of their job description. You have to find a way of countering the unreliability of manufacturers by looking elsewhere for more options.

One of these options is to start producing the secondary label for yourself. If you have this power then you’ll always be prepared for the inspection even if it’s on short notice. However, producing these labels by yourself can take away your focus from the core competencies of your operation.

An alternative is to partner with online distributors of these labels. KHA is one of those partners who you can rely on to deliver whenever the need arises. They produce safety data sheets that are OSHA compliant and they serve multiple locations to make it easier for businesses to access these crucial items.

Safety and Compliance in the Work Place

Every organization should prioritize enhancing the safety of the workplace. Employees are more productive and happier when you guarantee that they’ll return to their loved ones after a day of service.

There are steps that you can follow to make this a reality. These include using a secondary label on a hazardous material that’s in a secondary container. Ensure that you adhere to all the guidelines for labeling these containers to boost the protection of anybody who comes to the workplace.

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