What’s GHS?

ghsimageHurry! The new Global Harmonization System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling guidelines are quickly approaching. Are you ready? If you are not in the building maintenance industry, and you are not aware of what GHS is, then this December 1st deadline may not mean much to you; however, the new GHS requirements will make the job of a chemical users much safer and easier.

So, what is GHS exactly? GHS is a system that defines and classifies the hazards and safety information on labels and safety data sheets. The revised  OSHA standard requires employers to retrain employees by December 1st, 2013. The benefits of OHSA GHS requirements include:

  • Protect human health and the environment by providing a global system for hazard communication.
  • Classify the hazards of chemicals and communicate those hazards and precautionary      information using safety data sheets and labels.
  • Provide a recognized framework for countries without a system to facilitate international trade.
  • Provide consistency in hazard communication to ease compliance, encourage the safe      transport, handling and use of chemicals and promote better emergency response to chemical incidents.

In addition to employee training, companies are also required to update their labels with the new GHS pictograms. The new pictograms are easier to understand and depict the recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent dangerous exposure to a hazardous chemical product.

The GHS completion dates are listed below.

Effective Completion Date Requirement(s) Who
December 1, 2013 Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet   (SDS) format. Employers
June 1, 2015December 1, 2015 Compliance with all modified provisions of this 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 hazards. 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

If you are still having trouble understanding the new GHS process, visit Basic Coatings®! Basic Coatings provides you with all of the OSHA General Information Documentations to provide you will all the necessary information you may need to know regarding GHS.

Micah Petersen_jpg (1)Micah Petersen, Product Manager for Basic Coatings, spent the first 15 years of his career as a Research and Development Chemist before becoming Product Manager. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and a multitude of outdoor activities. For further questions regarding hardwood floor care and Basic Coatings, please email Micah at Micahblog@basiccoatings.com.

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