Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

GHS: Federal Agencies Step Up Efforts

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Now that the United Nations has adopted the Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), there is an international goal for as many countries as possible to implement GHS by 2008. GHS is an important global system of hazard classification, communication and labeling which, if implemented, is expected to bring much needed consistency and harmony to the workplace. Domestically, federal agencies are stepping up efforts to get with the program. GHS background Domestically, many requirements now in place control the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. Globally, many countries have comparable regulatory systems in place intended to implement these requirements.Often these systems are sufficiently dissimilar so as to invite inconsistencies, trade barriers and confusion with regard to the classification and labeling of chemicals. 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. GHS
elements provide a mechanism to meet the basic requirements of the hazard communication system, which, according to OSHA “is to decide if the chemical product produced and/or supplied is hazardous and to prepare a label and/or Safety Data Sheet [SDS] as appropriate.”

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