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October 16, 2009

OSHA Proposes Adoption of Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication System

OSHA recently proposed a rule to adopt the Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication System (GHS) in order to increase the quality and consistency of information provided to workers, employers and chemical users.

Modifications to OSHA's current Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) would include:
  • Revised criteria for classification of chemical hazards
  • Revised labeling provisions with standardized signal words, pictograms, hazard statements and precautionary statements
  • A specified format for safety data sheets
  • Required employee training on labels and safety data sheets
OSHA is also proposing changes to several other standards, including flammable and combustible liquids, process safety management and most substance-specific health standards, to ensure consistency with the modified HCS requirements.

"Following the GHS approach will increase workplace safety, facilitate international trade in chemicals and generate cost savings from production efficiencies for firms that manufacture and use hazardous chemicals," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab.

The current HCS requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import and provide information to subsequent users. It also requires employers to have a hazard communication program for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals.

If/when the standard changes, you can count on for all your safety sign and compliance sign needs.

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