GHS is Here!

OSHA's GHS Pictogram Quick Card

We’ve been anticipating adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) in the U.S. for quite some time. And now, finally, OSHA’s final rule on Hazard Communication/GHS will be published on March 26, 2012 with the new regulation effective sixty days later.

What this all means is that the Hazard Communication Standard, sometimes referred to as the “Employee Right to Know Law” is now aligned with GHS. The hope has been that this change will provide a common and consistent approach to identifying and communicating hazard information in the workplace. By using internationally recognized pictograms, labels, and safety data sheets, standard supporters anticipate the ability to more effectively communicate information with workers as well as reduce trade barriers and create productivity improvements in American businesses.

There are too many details to be covered in this blog. Here’s a summary of the major changes with lots of additional resources with more details listed below:

  • Hazard Classification (provides specific criteria for health and physical hazards, as well as mixtures);
  • Labels (manufacturers and importers required to provide labels with signal word, pictogram and hazard and precautionary statements);
  • Safety Data Sheet (requires a specified 16-section format);
  • Information and training (employees must be trained on new labels and safety data sheets by December 1, 2013).

We’ve been talking about this in the safety and health community for a long time. Will this make a positive difference? Let us know what you think.

Resources:
OSHA Safety & Health Topics: Hazard Communication
HCS/GHS Final Rule
Hazard Communication Standard Quick Cards
CROETweb Topic: HazCom, MSDS’s & GHS

 

 

 

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About the Author

Dede supports the Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences (formerly CROET) and the Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center's research, engagement and education programs. She is a certified industrial hygienist.

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