With the official announcement from OSHA of the implementation of GHS into the current Hazard Communication Standard many organizations are struggling to understand the complexities of these new regulations and how they will affect their organization. MSDSs are turning into SDSs, pictograms will be required on labels, chemicals will need to be classified and many other changes are in store. These modifications will require all employers in the US to make fundamental alterations to the workplace while requiring new training for employees.
The Globally Harmonized Classification System (GHS) provides standards for classifying chemicals to create smooth-flowing and health and environmentally conscious international trade. In the “Purple Book”, the details needed to use the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals is comprehensively outlined. The full five hundred and fifty-five (555) pages of this text are online, given by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE):
At Safetec, we recognize that busy environmental professionals are being asked to do more with fewer resources. Not everyone has time to read this large, albeit useful compilation and quickly glean the applications that are relevant to their particular industry. For this reason, we are providing you with this quick, snapshot view of the GHS document, so that you can more easily identify the points of the “Purple Book” that are most relevant to you and your business.
WHAT IS THE GHS?
The GHS is an international plan that will make how we classify, label and communicate chemical hazards easier across the board. Harmonized means standardized, so that your consumers in Thailand will understand the same information about your chemicals and products as those in Germany, with less confusion and more safety.
The main ways that your present system of chemical risk management will change includes the following areas:
1. How chemicals are classified
2. How chemicals are labeled
3. How mixtures of chemicals are classified
4. How mixtures of chemicals are labeled
5. Material Safety Data Sheets
6. Hazard Communication Diagrams