Created by the United Nations, the GHS (the Globally Harmonized System of the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) is designed to replace the diverse hazard classification systems around the world with one universal standard, which would improve knowledge of the dangers associated with hazardous chemicals.
The United States adopted the GHS in 2012. OSHA’s adoption is a revision of their Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the GHS.
Adoption of GHS brings major changes to the HCS, especially around:
- Hazard Classification
- Safety Data Sheets
- Employee Training – ensure employees know how to use the new system so they can take effective preventative and protective measures for health and safety.
What Does GHS Mean for Your Campus?
As of June 1st, 2016, all organizations with chemicals must be compliant with the HCS 2012 chemical classification guidelines including using the new GHS formats for safety data sheets, safety labels, and chemical re-classification, as well as training employees on the new system.
1. Safety Data Sheets
The GHS uses Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) instead of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and colleges need to capture Safety Data Sheets and update your SDS Library.
Safety Data Sheets follow a standardized format in which pertaining information is provided. SDSs should be provided by the manufacturer along with the chemical purchased. A typical SDS will provide essential information that outlines the dangers involved in handling, transporting, consuming, combining, storing, and disposing a chemical/product. An SDS will also provide vital first aid information to first responders and physicians, along with emergency contact numbers.
2. Chemical Safety Label Changes
Chemicals will have to be labeled differently than before. All labeling under the new GHS will require labels to incorporate the appropriate pictograms. Chemical labels will have 6 standardized elements that include specific language depending upon chemical classification. Pictograms are small illustrations, specific to a hazard, enclosed in a red-bordered diamond.
3. Employee Training
Train employees on GHS: Training employees on the new GHS formats must be a top priority because they are the first line of defense in recognizing GHS-compliant SDSs and labels as they arrive. It’s also important to remember that while your facility is transitioning to GHS, your library may contain a mix of safety data sheets in the new and old formats and that you must continue to train employees on both document types.
Train employees on new hazards: As part of a compliant hazard communication program, employers need to train employees on any newly discovered hazards listed on safety data sheets and labels to make them aware of additional dangers and procedures to follow if contact is made. Employees also should have a solid understanding of the new GHS pictograms and be able to explain what each means.
How the SafeColleges Online SDS System Can Help
Our affordable online SDS and chemical management system:
- Is compliant with GHS.
- Allows you to create and update your online Safety Data Sheet collections and organize them by location.
- Our database includes over 10,000 searchable SDSs.
- Upload and add your existing SDSs into the system.
- Print secondary container labels with important hazard warnings and pictograms.
- Create posters with QR codes that list chemicals in a specific area.
- Use our powerful search feature to quickly find a specific SDS in case of an emergency.
- Print your online SDS collections to create organized physical binders.
Our user-friendly online system can help you provide an easily accessible SDS system that helps to create a safer environment for your employees and students!