On March 26th, 2012 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officially adopted the Globally Harmonized System. This was done in a revision to their existing Hazard Communication Standard, which had been in place for some time. By updating their system to match GHS, OSHA helped to ensure that chemicals are more universally labeled and understood so that everyone using them can easily recognize the hazards that are present and take the necessary safety precautions. Knowing when it is necessary to use GHS labels and other things is important not only for safety, but also for compliance.
It is necessary to put labels on all hazardous chemicals that the facility uses. The label will need to include the GHS pictograms that are relevant to the chemical in question. All labels must be printed in such a way as to comply with the GHS standards, which means having the diamond shaped pictograms, with the red diamond around each of the pictograms themselves. In addition, the label will have to have the hazard word (Warning or Danger), the chemical name, and basic information on what to do in the event of a spill. Most facilities will use an industrial label printer to create the necessary labels as they need them.
When to Use GHS Safety Data Sheets
In addition to labeling all the chemicals that are used in the facility, it is required to have a safety data sheet for each of them. These safety data sheets are typically kept in a central location in the facility such as a filing cabinet or a computer program. The safety data sheets must contain all the relevant information for the chemical in question. Fortunately, each chemical has its own SDS available already, so facilities can simply download what they need and have it available on site.
Keeping Up with OSHA
While OSHA has adopted the GHS standards, they do have other requirements related to hazardous chemicals. Keeping up with the latest news and regulations coming from GHS will help ensure you always meet the legal requirements when it comes to safely using, shipping, or storing chemicals in a facility.