As soon as late August or early September, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) expects to publish a long-awaited final rule that modifies the current hazard communication standard to incorporate elements of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, also known as the GHS. The GHS was developed in 1992 to standardize and harmonize the classification and labeling of chemicals internationally. The application of the GHS is intended to:
- enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an international system for hazard communication;
- provide a recognized framework for countries without a system;
- reduce the need for testing and evaluation of chemicals; and
- facilitate international trade in chemicals whose hazards have been properly assessed and identified on an international basis.
Implementation of the GHS in the United States has been in the works since OSHA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking nearly five years ago. Among the most significant changes outlined in OSHA’s proposed rule are modifications to hazard communication (hazcom) labels. Under the proposed rule, all labels currently in use must be modified. Hazard symbols, signal words, and hazard statements have been standardized. The new labels must include signal words (such as flammable, explosive, or corrosive), pictograms, and hazard statements. In addition to the standardized information, several pieces of corresponding data must be listed. These include:
- a product identifier;
- first aid statements;
- precautionary statements;
- manufacturer or supplier information; and
- any other pertinent supplemental information.
According to OSHA statistics, more than 5 million U.S. workplaces and 40 million workers will be affected by the revised regulations.
The clock will soon be ticking towards the deadline for GHS implementation in the U.S. Labelmaster will be closely following these regulatory developments and providing updates as they become available. In the interim, we can stand ready to help you meet the proposed standards with a complete line of GHS labels, including pictograms and personalized GHS labels. Learn more at Labelmaster’s GHS products page.