How to be GHS Compliant

2 min read

Did you know, being GHS compliant will ensure your facility is OSHA compliant? In 2012 OSHA revised their hazard communication standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, mandating compliance by 2016. Although GHS compliance has been mandatory for just over two years, hazard communication consistently remains as one of OSHA’s most violated standards and the consequences can be dangerous. A worker can be seriously injured if they do not know the proper safety procedures when handling a toxic chemical or a facility can be damaged if harmful chemicals are improperly stored. GHS compliance can be broken down into three components: labeling, safety data sheets, and training.

Labels

Chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers must comply with the GHS labeling requirements. Every container (no matter how big or how small) holding a hazardous chemical must have a GHS-compliant label. These labels include important and necessary safety information for whoever will be handling, using, storing, or transporting the chemical in question. Each label consists of the same five components including a product identifier, a designated signal word, a specific hazard statement, a hazard pictogram, and a precautionary statement. To ensure compliancy, order customized GHS labels or create your own professional-grade labels with an industrial label printer.

Safety data sheets

Material safety data sheets, a document used to communicate the specific hazards of a chemical, were an OSHA requirement prior to the HazCom update and were reformatted to safety data sheets following the alignment with GHS. Following the revision, chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers must provide a safety data sheet with each chemical product. These sheets are comprised of 16 required sections that contain useful information such as toxicity, environmental hazards, storage requirements, and much more. Under the Hazard Communication Standard, employers must keep either physical or digital copies of safety data sheets on hand and accessible for all workers.

Training

Finally, employers are required to train employees on the Globally Harmonized System. This means training on elements of a GHS label and the formatting of a safety data sheet must be given to every worker and can be focused on interpreting hazard symbols, how to read a GHS label, what signal words mean, and more. Training will need to provide to every new employee hired and whenever a new safety or health hazard is introduced to the workplace. Effectively communicating workplace hazards is essential for any facility’s safety and to stay in compliance with OSHA.

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