GHS in the Workplace

The new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS) is now ready for worldwide implementation. Many countries have already adopted the GHS, while the USA and Canada are just beginning the task of harmonizing existing regulatory regimes within the GHS framework. Whereas the question on most people’s minds these days is “When will GHS be implemented?” concern should focus on how GHS will affect our commerce and safety in our workplaces. Target audiences for the GHS include consumers, workers, and emergency responders. GHS will benefit these folks. Though for the employer or Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Manager, once you’ve educated yourself in GHS principles, expect to spend much time sifting through the data needed to correctly categorize chemicals and their mixtures per the new GHS criteria. You should also expect to spend much money and time applying new GHS labels to chemical containers, reformat existing MSDSs to the sixteen sections Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and retrain workers how to interpret GHS hazard information. Do not expect a GHS shift to magically make your workplace safer, since GHS is not intended to harmonize risk assessment procedures or risk management. This gradual process of GHS assimilation should however eventually help in the decisions process.

The advantage of GHS is the way it identifies the intrinsic hazards found in chemical substances and mixtures and conveys this hazard information Continue Reading…