GHS: What’s Next

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GHS: What's Next? The timeline of GHS Compliance

The GHS Mission: To internationally standardize classification and labeling of chemicals with pictograms, signal words and hazard warnings. The goal is to reduce time and costs, facilitate trade, and improve comprehension and understanding of health and environmental hazards.

Important Dates for GHS Compliance in the U.S.

Ongoing: The GHS is expected to be a living document. Changes may be adopted on a two-year cycle through various rule making options.

  • June 1, 2016
    What: Update workplace labeling and haz-com programs and train employees on newly identified physical or health hazards.
    Who: Employers
  • December 1, 2015
    What: Shall not ship products labeled by chemical manufacturers or importers unless the labels comply with GHS.
    Who: Distributors
  • June 1, 2015
    What: Comply with all final rule provisions but may ship products labeled uder the old system until December 1, 2015.
    Who: Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, & employers
  • December 1, 2013
    What: Train employees on new label requirements and safety date sheet (SDS) format.
    Who: Employers

Transition Period: Up to the effective completion dates, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers may comply with either 29CFR 1910.1200 (the final standard), the current standard, or both

GHS Timeline including The United Nations, european Union, United States, Japan, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and IFCS.
  • June 1, 2015
    (European Union) The current Directives on classification, labeling and packaging, i.e. Council Directive 67/48/EEC and Directive 1999/45/EEC, will be repealed.
  • May 31, 2015
    (European Union) Expected deadline for mixture reclassification after entry into force.

As of 2014, 67 countries have adopted GHS. No country is obligated to adopt GHS.

  • March 20, 2012
    (United States) OSHA passed their final ruling updating the Hazard Communication Standard to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
  • February 21, 2012
    (United States) The Office of Management and Budget concluded its review of OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard, incorporating GHS principles. As the last step, the rule would be published to the Federal Register, establishing the effective date.
  • 2011
    (United States) OSHA would release the final ruling on the updated Hazard Communication Standard.
  • 2010
    (United States) OSHA hosted public hearings regarding the proposed changes to the Hazard Communication Standard relating to GHS initiatives.
  • November 30, 2010
    (European Union) Expected deadline for substance classification according to the Globally Harmonized System of Hazard Classification and Labeling, after the rule is entered into force in the EU.
  • 2009
    (European Union) Expected entry into force of Directive COM (2006)852 on the inland transportation of dangerous goods. Also, the biennial updates of relevant international agreements would enter into force. The directive made direct reference to the relevant legal instruments implementing the provisions of the UN Model Regulations on the transport of Dangerous Goods by road, rail, and inland waterways.
  • September 30, 2009
    (United States) OSHA published a proposal to modify the Hazard Communication Standard to conform with the GHS. Interested parties had 90 days of public comment before the proposal would take effect.
  • 2008
    (Australia) Targeted 2008 for the declaration of a new GHS-based framework for the control of workplace hazardous chemicals.
  • 2008
    (European Union) The EU adopted the GHS Implementing Regulation (Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures).
  • 2008
    (IFCS) The Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety adopted an implementation goal of 2008. The U.S. participated in this group and agreed to work toward the goal.
  • January 1, 2008
    (United States)The U.S. DOT updated 49 CFR to align with the 14th Edition UN Model Regulations and International modal regulations.
  • 2007
    (United States) The U.S. DOT aligned transport regulations to the GHS.
  • December 14, 2007
    (United Nations) The 14th session of the Subcommittee of Experts on the GHS was held in Geneva.
  • July 2007
    (United Nations) The 2nd Revised Edition of the GHS was published (includes standardized precautionary measures).
  • July 7, 2007
    (United Nations) The 13th session of the Subcommittee of Experts on the GHS was held in Geneva.
  • July 10, 2007
    (Ireland) Invited the public to submit comments on the EU draft proposal to assist in the development of the national position for the negotiating team at the EU discussions.
  • June 27, 2007
    (European Union) Adopted an act that aligns the European Union’s system of classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures to the United Nations’ GHS.
  • May 31, 2007
    (United Nations) This was the deadline for most mixtures & substances to meet GHS in Japan.
  • March 15, 2007
    (United Nations) The public comment period was closed in Australia
  • December 10, 2006
    (United Nations) The 1st Revised Edition of the GHS was adopted by the Committee of Experts.
  • November 1, 2006
    (United States) OSHA’s ANPR Public comment period was closed.
  • October 21, 2006
    (European Union) The public comment period was closed.
  • September 21, 2006
    (United States) OSHA Published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and opened it to public comments.
  • February 23, 2006
    (Canada) Published a sectored analysis.
  • September 1, 2005
    (United States / European Union) US (OSHA) & EU discussed GHS implementation at a joint conference on occupational safety and health, completed a pilot project related to GHS.
  • May 16, 2005
    (United States) OSHA indicated the Hazard Communication Standard would adopt many of the GHS components.
  • December 10, 2004
    (United Nations) Amendments to the GHS were adopted at the 2nd session of the Subcommittee of Experts. Amendments included revisions on classification and labeling, new rules for aspiration hazards and precautionary statements, pictograms and the preparation of safety data sheets.
  • August 1, 2004
    (United States) The EPA published a white paper relating to the application of GHS to pesticides in the U.S.
  • 2003
    (United Nations) The 1st Edition of the GHS was published and made available for implementation.
  • August 1, 2003
    (Canada) A situational analysis was published comparing the existing systems in Canada to the GHS. Issues that might arise during the implementation of GHS were identified.
  • December 1, 2002
    (United Nations) The UN approved the 1st Edition of the GHS.
  • September 26, 2002
    (United Nations) An Implementation plan was adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Countries were encouraged to implement the new GHS as soon as possible, with a goal of having a fully operational system by 2008.
  • October 26, 1999
    (United Nations) The United Nations Economic and Social Council enlarged the mandate of the Committee of Experts on Transport of Dangerous Goods to include the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. They also created a new Subcommittee of Experts on the GHS (Resolution 1999/65).
  • 1992
    (United Nations) The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) was mandated at the United Nations Conference on Enviornment and Development (UNCED) to internationally standardize classification and labeling of chemicals.

GHS is not a global law. It's a system.

43 million workers in the U.S. are affected by GHS

The most noticeable changes brought by GHS for most organizations will be changes to safety labels, safety data sheets & chemical classification.



The timeline of GHS compliance

According to OSHA, GHS—the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals—affects over 5 million businesses and 43 million workers. This infographic includes an illustrated timeline of the evolution of GHS and its implementation, as well as the next steps businesses should take to achieve compliance. Learn when you need to provide training for employees, watch out for updated chemical information from suppliers, and change workplace labeling.

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