GHS Short


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During the July OFFSHC, we were presented a great overview of the final rule published by OSHA to align the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). Jorge Delucca, OSHA CAS, provided the OSHA GHS Overview (click the link to view). He discussed the implementation dates, GHS Hazard Classifications, Safety Data Sheet changes and GHS labeling. Mr. Delucca also discussed the other standards that will be affected and current litigation related to the ruling. More information is available at

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GHS Short

  1. 1. GHS Jim Shelton, CAS, HNAO Updated by Jorge Delucca,OKCAO Version 2, June 2012
  2. 2. GHS• On March 26, 2012 OSHA published the final rule to align the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS)• The final rule becomes effective on May 25, 2012
  3. 3. GHS• The change will help ensure improved quality and more consistency in the classification and labeling of all chemicals• AIHA summed up the support from commenters and testifiers by declaring that the GHS modifications will improve quality and consistency of hazard communication information (Document ID #0496 Tr. 415). Source: Federal Register, March 26, 2012
  4. 4. GHS• The benefits include enhanced worker comprehension resulting in appropriate handling and use of chemicals. The harmonized format of the safety data sheets will enable workers to access the information more efficiently• Also currently multiple labels and safety data sheets must often be developed by chemical manufacturers for the same product when shipped overseas. This creates a major compliance burden increasing costs
  5. 5. GHS• GHS provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards• Specifies hazard communication elements for labeling and safety data sheets.• Labels will include signal words, pictograms, and hazard and precautionary statements and safety data sheets would have a standardized format
  6. 6. GHS• The major proposed changes to the HCS: – Hazard Classification (changed from hazard determination) – Labels – Safety Data Sheets (changed from materials safety data sheets) – Information and Training• Will affect nearly 40 million workers and 5 million workplaces
  7. 7. TLVs, PELs, & other exposure llimits • TLVs, PELs, and “any other exposure limit recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer or employer are required”
  8. 8. Carcinogenicity• If a chemical is listed as carcinogen by IARC or NTP, it must be noted on the SDS• If OSHA finds a chemical to be a carcinogen, it must be noted on the SDS
  9. 9. GHS• The GHS may prevent 43 fatalities and 585 injuries and illnesses annually• DOT has already modified their requirements for classification and labeling to be consistent with UN transport requirements and the GHS
  10. 10. Phase-In datesEffective Completion Requirements WhodateDec 1, 2013 Train employees on new labels and Employers Safety Data Sheet formatJune 1, 2015 Compliance with modified provisions of Chemical final rule except: manufacturers, importers, distributorsDecember 1, 2015 Distributors shall not ship containers & employers labeled unless it is a GHS label EmployersJune 1, 2016 Update workplace labeling and HAZCOM program. Additional employee training on newly found physical or health hazardsTransition period May comply with final HAZCOM std. or Chemical current std., or both manufacturers, importers, distributors & employers
  11. 11. GHS Hazard Classification • The list of chemicals presenting a ‘Health’ hazard was deleted from the current HCS and the proposed HCS has identified a new listing • A ‘Health Hazard’ means a chemical which is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects:
  12. 12. GHS Hazard Classification – Acute Toxicity (any route of exposure) – Skin Corrosion or Irritation – Serious Eye Damage or Eye Irritation – Respiratory or Skin Sensitization – Germ Cell Mutagenicity – Carcinogenicity – Reproductive Toxicity – Specific Target Organ Toxicity (single or repeated exposure) – Aspiration Hazard
  13. 13. GHS Hazard Classification • The list of chemicals presenting a ‘Physical’ hazard was deleted from the current HCS and the proposed HCS has identified a new listing • A ‘Physical Hazard’ means a chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects:
  14. 14. GHS Hazard Classification – Explosive – Flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids) – Oxidizer (liquid, solid, or gas) – Self-Reactive – Pyrophoric (liquid or solid) – Self-Heating – Organic Peroxide – Corrosive To Metal – Gas Under Pressure – Contact With Water Emits Flammable Gas
  15. 15. GHS Hazard Classification • The HCS does not address environmental hazards and OSHA does not have jurisdiction over that. There are environmental hazard classifications: – Hazardous to the Aquatic Environment • Acute Aquatic Toxicity • Chronic Aquatic Toxicity – Bioaccumulation Potential – Rapid Degradability
  16. 16. OSHA Hazard Classification • In OSHA’s proposed rule there was a hazard category called ‘Unclassified’ which is not in the UN GHS system – … a chemical for which there is scientific evidence identified during the classification process that may pose an adverse physical or health effect when present in a workplace under normal conditions of use… – Example: Combustible Dust
  17. 17. Hazards Not otherwise Classified • OSHA changed “unclassified hazards” to “hazards not otherwise classified” (HNOC) • For issues that have not gone through a rulemaking • Combustible dust is considered “hazardous chemical”
  18. 18. Hazardous Chemical • OSHA classified as Hazardous Chemicals: – Pyrophoric gases, signal word “danger”, “catches fire spontaneously if exposed to air”* – Simple asphyxiants, signal word “warning”, “may displace oxygen and cause rapid suffocation”* – Combustible dust, signal word “warning”, “May form combustible dust concentrations in the air”* *Hazard Statements
  19. 19. Other Standards Affected• Flammable and combustible liquids in general industry & construction (1910.106 and 1926.152) – Align with GHS hazard categories for flammable liquids
  20. 20. Other Standards Affected• Process Safety management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (1910.119) – Modified to ensure scope is not changed• Modifications made to most OSHA’s substance-specific health standards to ensure signs and labels are consistent with modified HCS
  21. 21. Change to warnings for carcinogens • All warnings for carcinogens will be standardized to read: “May Cause Cancer”
  22. 22. GHS Labels • Three standardized GHS label elements: – Symbols (Hazard Pictograms) that convey health, physical, and environmental hazard information assigned to a GHS hazard class and category – Signal Words “Danger” or “Warning” used to emphasize hazards and relative level of severity of the hazard and assigned to a GHS hazard class and category – Hazard Statements which are standard phrases assigned to a hazard class and category that describe the nature of the hazard
  23. 23. GHS Labels • Key Elements – Product Identifier – Supplier Identifier – Chemical Identity – Hazard Pictograms* – Signal Words* – Hazard Statements* – Precautionary Information * Standardized
  24. 24. GHS Labels Red border GHS ------ Black border Transport
  25. 25. GHS Labels Hazard Classes may have ‘Categories’
  26. 26. GHS Labels
  27. 27. GHS Labels Example of a Transportation and GHS label combined
  28. 28. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) • The OSHA ‘Material Safety Data Sheet’ (MSDS) will be called a ‘Safety Data Sheet’ (SDS) • The MSDS has 8 non-mandatory sections • The SDS would have 12 mandatory and 4 non- mandatory sections and is essentially the ANSI Z400.1-2004 format – Sections 12-15 are not mandatory and cover Ecological, Disposal, Transport, and Regulatory information
  29. 29. Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  30. 30. HCS Appendices • Appendix A: Health Hazard Criteria • Appendix B: Physical Hazard Criteria • Appendix C: Allocation of Label Elements • Appendix D: Safety Data Sheets • Appendix E: Definition of ‘Trade Secret’ • Appendix F: Guidance for Hazard Classification Regarding Carcinogenicity
  31. 31. GHS Changes in the Future • The GHS is updated as needed to reflect new technology and scientific developments, or provide explanatory text. Changes to the HCS is anticipated through: – Technical Updates for minor terminology changes – Direct Final Rules for text clarification – Notice and Comment Rulemaking for more substantive or controversial updates such as additional or changes in health or safety hazard classes or categories
  32. 32. Industry Groups Challenge HAZCOM Alignedwith GHS—Source: Bloomberg BNA Industry groups petitioned a federal appeals court the week of May 21: 3.CropLife America: possible conflicts between HAZCOM and EPA’s Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requirements for pesticide labeling
  33. 33. Industry Groups Challenge HAZCOM Alignedwith GHS—Source: Bloomberg BNA 2. American Chemistry Council and 4 industry groups: OSHA should not address combustible dust in final rule; doing so would transform it into a de facto dust standard
  34. 34. Industry Groups Challenge HAZCOM Alignedwith GHS—Source: Bloomberg BNA 3. American Petroleum Institute: criticized mandatory “arbitrary” 20 percent concentration threshold for the classification of chemical mixtures containing target organ toxicity hazards OSHA should require categories “be based upon science and hazard determination”
  35. 35. Industry Groups Challenge HAZCOM Alignedwith GHS—Source: Bloomberg BNA • We need to wait until these challenges are settled to find out what changes, if any, will be done to the HAZCOM standard
  36. 36. Resources • On the OSHA website under ‘Safety and Health Topics’ there is a Hazard Communication webpage with many resources and documents including a link to a GHS page
  37. 37. Resources • The GHS webpage has lots of documents including side by side comparisons of the HCS and the new proposed HCS
  38. 38. Resources • OSHA published ‘A Guide to The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) • It can be downloaded from the OSHA website
  39. 39. Disclaimer • This information has been developed by an OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist and is intended to assist employers, workers, and others as they strive to improve workplace health and safety. While we attempt to thoroughly address specific topics [or hazards], it is not possible to include discussion of everything necessary to ensure a healthy and safe working environment in a presentation of this nature. Thus, this information must be understood as a tool for addressing workplace hazards, rather than an exhaustive statement of an employer’s legal obligations, which are defined by statute, regulations, and standards. Likewise, to the extent that this information references practices or procedures that may enhance health or safety, but which are not required by a statute, regulation, or standard, it cannot, and does not, create additional legal obligations. Finally, over time, OSHA may modify rules and interpretations in light of new technology, information, or circumstances; to keep apprised of such developments, or to review information on a wide range of occupational safety and health topics, you can visit OSHA’s website at