Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Introductory Overview & Webinar

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals.  The GHS provides 3 basic elements for classification and labeling:

  • Define health, physical & environmental hazards
  • Classify the hazards
  • Communicate the hazards throughout the workforce via labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) – note: comparison of SDS and MSDS

(For a side-by-side comparison of the current hazard communication standard and the new standard, click HERE.)

While not a regulation or a standard, GHS is an attempt to standardize the method in which hazards are communicated in the workplace.  It is anticipated that application of the GHS will:

  • Enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an internationally comprehensible system,
  • Provide a recognized framework to develop regulations for those countries without existing systems,
  • Facilitate international trade in chemicals whose hazards have been identified on an international basis,
  • Reduce the need for testing and evaluation against multiple classification systems.

Benefits to companies include:

  • A safer work environment and improved relations with employees,
  • An increase in efficiency and reduced costs from compliance with hazard communication regulations,
  • Application of expert systems resulting in maximizing expert resources and minimizing labor and costs,
  • Facilitation of electronic transmission systems with international scope,
  • Expanded use of training programs on health and safety,
  • Reduced costs due to fewer accidents and illnesses,
  • Improved corporate image and credibility.

Benefits to workers and members of the public include:

  • Improved safety for workers and others through consistent and simplified communications on chemical hazards and practices to follow for safe handling and use,
  • Greater awareness of hazards, resulting in safer use of chemicals in the workplace and in the home.

Travelers Risk Control recently put together a webinar on GHS,  Hazcom 2012 and an overview of the implementation process.  You can view the webinar HERE.

Source: OSHA, Travelers

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