July 3, 2012
Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS for short) is an effort to create a system for standardizing and the classification and labeling of chemicals world-wide. It provides a standard definition of the health, physical, and environmental hazards of chemicals. It provides standardization and clarifies chemical classifications by hazard type and includes a new approach to communication the hazard information and protective measures on the labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
Itself not a regulation or standard, many countries are adopting its principles, including the United States. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has overhauled its Hazard Communication Standard to synchronize it with the GHS system.
There are three areas of major change to the Hazard Communication Standard: the hazard classification, labels, and safety data sheets.
The Hazard Classification definitions have been changed to provide clarification of hazard classifications as well as classification of mixtures. The labels will now include a uniform signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each class and category. Safety Data Sheets will now all be in a specific format with 16 sections.
This table below summarizes the phase-in dates under OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard.
|Effective Completion Date||Requirement(s)||Who|
|December 1, 2013||Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheets (SDS) format||Employers|
|June 1, 2015 *
December 1, 2015
|Compliance with all modified provisions of the final rule except:
The Distributor shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a GHS label
|Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers|
|June 1, 2016||Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly-identified physical or health hazard||Employers|
|Transition Period to the effective completion dates noted above||May comply with either 29 CFR 1910.1200 (the final standard), or the current standard, or both||Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers|
According to the OSHA Hazard Communication Final Rule, the cost estimate of compliance with the rulemaking over the 4-year transition period will be $2.1 billion with the cost of training employees is estimated to be $1.1 billion.
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