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Improving the safety culture in 2014

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The United States now participates in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. As of Dec. 1, 2013, you should be well into the transition from material safety data sheets (MSDS) to the new safety data sheets (SDS), which are all in a standardized format. Additionally, as of that same date, all of your employees should have received new training that includes:

  • recognizing and understanding the new pictograms in the new labeling system;
  • understanding of hazard statements and the use of the terms danger, warning and caution, and understanding how the elements of the new labels work together;
  • reading and understanding the SDS; and
  • how the SDS and the product label are related.

Many more changes in the HazCom standard are coming. I will keep you apprised as they develop and implementation deadlines approach.


I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg here. It’s incumbent on the facility or the community to understand compliance requirements and to use them to develop a culture of safety.

This fact is not going to change; it’s not going to go away. The DART (days away, restricted or transferred) rate in healthcare remains unacceptably high, and until the industry improves its safety performance and safety management outcomes, facilities can expect to have the regulatory agencies breathing down their necks as the agencies continue to pick apart safety programs and issue monetary penalties that force facilities to comply.

Stay safe, and stay in touch.


Steve Wilder


Steve Wilder


Steve Wilder, CHSP, STS, is president and chief operating officer of...