What Is The Globally Harmonized System (GHS), and How Will It Affect Hazard Communication?


November 21, 2013
 
Globally Harmonized SystemThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has required that manufacturers of chemical products supply users with safety and health information to their customers since November 1983. This information was communicated by using Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Even through a revision that occurred in 1994, the MSDS has remained unchanged for many years.
 
In March of 2012, a major revision occurred. OSHA brought the United States into alignment with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This is an effort to provide a single set of standards that will apply worldwide, while making information easier to find and understand.
 
MSDS = SDSHarmonizing with GHS is going to cause major changes in how the chemical industry communicates hazards. The largest changes will be visible in the MSDS and labels. MSDS will be called Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and they will now have a standardized 16-part format. There will also be standardized hazard statements based on the classification of each product.
 
The label will be required to carry the same standardized hazard statements that are found on the SDS. The label will also include pictograms (like those shown below) to help graphically communicate the hazards of the product.
 
Due to the large amount of changes required, OSHA gave long deadlines to fully implement the requirements. Below is a chart outlining the deadlines for completion.
 
Deadline for Completion Requirement Who Needs To Comply?
December 1, 2013

Train employees on the new SDS and label formats

All employers who manufacture or use chemicals
June 1, 2015

Comply with all provisions of the requirement

Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers
June 1, 2016 Update workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional training on newly identified hazards All employees who manufacture or use chemicals
 
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What is Momar Doing to Comply With the New Requirements?
Momar started working to meet these deadlines as soon as OSHA announced the revision. We have trained our work force on the new SDS and label formats, and we provide refresher training annually. Our staff of chemists began working on converting our 5,000+ product labels and MSDSs over to the new formats. Because we manufacture so many different products, ranging from dust suppression to odor control to drain maintenance to weed killers, this transition process will not be complete until early 2015. During this transition time, you may notice some of our products will be in the old MSDS/Label formats while some are in the new formats. This is acceptable to OSHA. All Momar products will be converted to the new GHS formats by June 1, 2015. For any questions concerning the new requirements or how Momar might be able to assist your company in complying with the new requirements, please contact us at sales.support@momar.com. Below are several resources to assist you in better understanding these upcoming changes: