GHS labels are used in countries around the world to help identify specific hazards related to industrial chemicals. The standards require simple pictograms to be used so that anyone who sees them (and is familiar with the GHS standards) will know what the danger is. Since there are no written or spoken words used on the labels, they will be effective no matter where the chemicals are shipped.
When looking specifically at the GHS standards, there are no requirements that any company uses them. GHS created these standards to help improve workplace safety, which has become increasingly important due to the global environment that exists today. That being said, however, many individual countries, including the United States, does require the use of GHS.
OSHA and GHS
OSHA is the main regulatory agency in the United States, and it sets forth the rules and regulations that companies need to follow when it comes to workplace safety. They have established their own Hazard Communication Standards (HCS), which has been in place and followed by companies for many years. As of 2016, OSHA has updated their own HCS standards to match the GHS system that has already been in place.
This means that all companies that operate within the United States must follow the GHS system in order to remain in compliance with OSHA regulations. This will apply to any company that uses dangerous or potentially dangerous chemicals. It would also apply to those that ship or transport these chemicals in or through the United States.
Requirements in Other Countries
Many other countries around the world have implemented requirements related to GHS standards. This has made it necessary for many companies, even those not in countries where it is required, to participate in the GHS system. When a company is getting chemicals from, or shipping chemicals to, a country where it is required, they will also need to use these types of labels or signs.
- What does GHS stand for?
- Can GHS pictograms be black and white?
- Are GHS pictograms and hazard labels the same?
- When are GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS) Required?
- How can I properly create GHS labels?
- How is GHS implemented?