The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals or GHS is an internationally agreed-upon system, created by the United Nations. It is designed to replace the various classification and labeling standards used in different countries by using consistent criteria for classification and labeling on a global level.
Having differences in systems within different countries and within different regulatory agencies within the same government leads to inconsistent protection for those potentially exposed to the chemicals as well as creating extensive regulatory burdens on companies producing the chemicals
In the United States, there are requirements for classification and labeling of chemicals for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Globally Harmonized System or GHS is a set of criteria and provisions that can be incorporated into existing systems, or used to develop new systems.
It is important to know that:
To provide sound management of chemicals that includes a system through which chemical hazards are identified and communicated to all who are potentially exposed
The widespread use of chemicals has resulted in the development of sector-specific regulations (transport, production, workplace, agriculture, trade, and consumer products).
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) issued a mandate calling for the development of the GHS.
To ensure that employers, employees, and the public are provided with adequate, practical, reliable and comprehensible information on the hazards of chemicals so they can take effective, preventive, and protective measures for their health and safety
Chemicals are classified based on the type, the degree and the severity of the hazard it poses. Manufacturers are required to evaluate chemicals to make sure they are properly classified. Physical hazards are generally consistent with current DOT requirements. Classification is the starting point for hazard communication:
Hazard classes are subdivided into categories of a hazard:
Once a chemical has been classified, the hazard(s) must be communicated to target audiences
Labels and Safety Data Sheets are the main tools for chemical hazard communication
The following UN markings are required on the for outer package:
"Danger" or "Warning" are used to emphasize hazards and indicate the relative level of severity of the hazard, assigned to a GHS hazard class and category.
Hazard statements are standardized and assigned phrases that describe the hazard(s) as determined by hazard classification
Hazard Statements are standard phrases assigned to a hazard class and category that concisely describe the nature of the hazard. The following are examples of Hazard Statements:
Pictograms serve to attract attention to the hazard warnings. One pictogram may be used to represent several hazards within a class, and:
Some of the pictograms included in the final rule are already widely recognized by a general audience.
Precautionary Statements are standardized explanations of the measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects:
“Wear protective gloves”
“If inhaled remove person to fresh air”
“Store in well-ventilated place”
“Waste must be disposed of in accordance with federal, state and local environmental control regulations”
Employers must ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is labeled, tagged, or marked with either the information specified under (i) through (v) for labels on shipped containers:
•(i) Product identifier;•(ii) Signal word;•(iii) Hazard statement(s);•(iv) Pictogram(s);•(v) Precautionary statement(s);
Product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and which, in conjunction with the other information immediately available to employees under the hazard communication program, will provide employees with the specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemical.
MSDS’s have been changed to Safety DataSheets.
Items of primary interest to exposed employees and emergency responders are presented at the beginning of the SDS; more technical information is presented in the later sections.
Sections of an SDS
Identifies the chemical on the SDS as well as the recommended uses. It also provides the essential contact information of the supplier:
Identifies the hazards of the chemical presented on the SDS and the appropriate warning information associated with those hazards:
Identifies the ingredient(s) contained in the product. This section includes information on substances, mixtures, and all chemicals where a trade secret is claimed:
Describes the initial care that should be given by untrained responders to an individual who has been exposed to the chemical:
Provides recommendations for fighting a fire caused by the chemical:
Provides recommendations on the appropriate response to spills, leaks, or releases, including containment and cleanup practices to prevent or minimize exposure to people, properties, or the environment:
Provides guidance on the safe handling practices and conditions for safe storage of chemicals:
Indicates the exposure limits, engineering controls, and personal protective measures that can be used to minimize worker exposure:
Identifies physical and chemical properties associated with the substance or mixture including but not limited to the following:
Describes the reactivity hazards of the chemical and the chemical stability information:
Identifies toxicological and health effects information or indicates that such data are not available:
Provides information to evaluate the environmental impact of the chemical(s) if it were released to the environment:
Provides guidance on proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container, and safe handling practices:
Provides guidance on classification information for shipping and transporting of hazardous chemical(s) by road, air, rail, or sea:
Identifies the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific for the product that is not indicated anywhere else on the SDS
Any national and/or regional regulatory information of the chemical or mixtures (including any OSHA, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, or Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations)
Indicates when the SDS was prepared or when the last known revision was made. Other useful information also may be included here
Choose from the following options for correct test answers: