Tips for Training Employees in a Fast-Changing Regulatory Environment

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As anyone who works in the chemicals industry knows, staying on top of the latest regulations is essential to maintaining product quality and ensuring safety in the workplace. Failing to comply with regulations like OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) can result in substantial fines and penalties.

Employee training plays a key role in maintaining compliance. It’s your responsibility to ensure employees have all the training and knowledge they need to do their jobs safely. However, it can be challenging to keep up with training when regulations are constantly changing.

So how can you implement an effective HCS program and make sure your facility stays in compliance? Here are some tips to help you create a successful compliance training program.

1. Appoint a compliance officer or compliance committee

Designating a compliance officer or committee is critical to the success of your training program. This officer should have sufficient funding and staff to perform their responsibilities adequately. They also need to have a thorough knowledge of the HCS requirements and your company’s goals and culture.

The compliance officer’s primary responsibility will be to oversee and monitor the implementation of the compliance program. It is vital that they effectively communicate the company’s internal policies and compliance regulations to employees across the entire organization. Another aspect of their job will be to organize regular training sessions for employees whenever there’s a change in regulations or a new chemical hazard is introduced into the workplace.

There should also be someone responsible for making sure all chemical storage containers are properly labeled. Labels must be legible and prominently displayed on the containers. According to HCS requirements outlined by OSHA, all hazardous chemicals must be labeled with the following:

● Hazard pictograms
● Signal word
● Hazard and precautionary statements
● Product identifier (e.g., product name and code)
● Supplier identification

2. Hire a regulatory consultant

Hiring a consultant is another way to improve regulatory compliance training. Regulatory experts have specialized knowledge of various global and domestic regulatory requirements. They can help you make sense of complex HCS requirements, provide guidelines for employee training, and manage compliance strategy and risk. And you won’t have to take personnel off the floor to conduct a training seminar every time you hire someone new.

3. Consider online training courses

Online training has become a valuable resource for compounders and chemical manufacturers. Online courses deliver all the information employees need to complete training and test their knowledge of regulations. It not only saves your organization time and money, but it also provides employees with ongoing access to key resources. Employees can learn at their own pace and take courses whenever and wherever they want.

4. Maintain your safety data sheets (SDSs)

Keeping your safety data sheets (SDSs) up to date is critical to maintaining a safe workplace and making sure employees stay informed. Every hazardous chemical shipment must come with or be preceded by an SDS compliant with GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals). Additionally, all employees must be trained on how to read, understand and access SDSs.

Typically, employers store physical SDSs in three-ring binders. However, a more cost-efficient and modern method is to use online software that manages your inventory of SDSs. The best solutions store SDSs in a secure, cloud-based library so employees can quickly get the information they need. When using an electronic system, it’s important to make sure all employees can access the documents. Many companies provide access in their break areas.

Make sure you designate an employee who is responsible for updating and managing SDSs at your facility. This person should compare updated SDSs to older versions and identify any new hazards that employees need to be aware of.

It’s hard to maintain compliance when regulations change so frequently. Use the tips above to stay on top of the ever-changing regulatory landscape and avoid penalties and violations.

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