OSHA's New GHS Hazard Communication Standard


OSHA has revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

Major changes to the HCS include[1]:

         Hazard classification: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. Hazard classification under the new, updated standard provides specific criteria to address health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures.

         Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.

         Safety Data Sheets: The new format requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information.

         Information and training: To facilitate understanding of the new system, the new standard requires that workers be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format, in addition to the current training requirements.

To comply with the June 1, 2015 deadline established by the revised HCS[2], A. L. Wilson has re-written our Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and has re-issued them in the newly required format. A complete set of our new SDS is available for viewing or download at ALWilson.com.

The revised HCS also requires that manufacturers ship only GHS-compliant chemical containers as of the June 1, 2015 deadline. To comply with this requirement, some A. L. Wilson packages have been completely re-labeled, while others have transitional labels applied to them.

Businesses that use chemicals have until June 1, 2016, to fully comply with their new obligations under the revised HCS. These obligations include[3]:

         Ensuring all containers are appropriately labeled;

         Maintaining compliant safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical in the workplace; and

         Appropriately informing and training employees on the hazardous chemicals in their work area.

For more detailed information about the new HCS, visit the OSHA website at OSHA.gov.