OSHA Safety Manuals | GHS – Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
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GHS – Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

If you currently work in a workplace that uses hazardous chemicals governed by a Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Program, there are changes to the standard you need to be aware of. In March 2012, the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration updated its HAZCOM standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) to align with the GHS – Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The major changes to the standard are:

– Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.

– Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

– Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Will replace “Material Safety Data Sheets” and now have a specified 16-section format.

– Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Important Implementation Dates:

Dec. 1, 2013 – Employees must be trained on the new label elements and SDS format. June 1, 2016 – Alternative workplace labeling and HAZCOM programs must be updated as necessary and additional training for newly identified physical or health hazards must be provided.