Getting to Harmonization
On Sept. 12, 2006, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The agency also made available a Guide to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, which is available at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/GHSGuideOct05.pdf. On Oct. 18, 2006, EPA convened a public meeting to discuss the GHS and pesticide labeling issues.
The GHS is a global system of hazard classification, communication and labeling that, if implemented, is expected to bring consistency and harmony to the labeling, classification and hazard communication of workplace hazardous chemicals. Globally, requirements currently mandate the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. These systems are often dissimilar and invite inconsistencies, trade barriers and confusion with regard tochemical classification and labeling.
While the GHS itself is not a “regulation” or a “standard” as these terms are defined under the law, the GHS document establishes agreed-upon hazard classification and communication provisions with explanatory information on how to apply the system.