Employers Must Act by December 1, 2013
GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification & Labeling for Chemicals) -Requires Training By December 1, 2013.
GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling for Chemicals.
Developed by the United Nations, the idea of the GHS is existing chemical classification and labeling systems (like OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard or (HCS) "should be harmonized in order to develop a single, globally harmonized system to address classification of chemicals, labels and safety data sheets."
OSHA (including Cal/OSHA) rules require ALL employers using hazardous materials to train all employees by December 1, 2013, and all new employees hired thereafter.
The United States and its regulatory agencies (OSHA, EPA, DOT) will be using the GHS labeling system and all of its recommended policies going forward. As an example: OSHA's HAZCOM (Hazardous Communications) standard will reflect the updated changes outlined in GHS.
Most employers who use chemicals are aware of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) supplied by manufactures or wholesalers, and have already developed Hazardous Communications Plans and training.
These existing programs need to be brought current with the new GHS rules and the Safety Data Sheets which are different from the previous MSDS material.
Don't Make Assumptions!
Some employers, such as office and warehouse employers, may be surprised that they are also covered by these rules. Employers are not required to have SDS's for household consumer products such as cleansers or bleaches when the products are used in the workplace in the same manner that a consumer would use them, i.e.: where the duration and frequency of use (and therefore exposure) is not greater than what the typical consumer would experience.
However, quite often maintenance employees and others who use cleaners, etc. use them for a duration, strength or frequency of exposure greater than a normal consumer, and are not exempt for these rules.
Who Must Receive the Notice. All current employees and new hires using hazardous materials must receive training from their employers no later that December 1, 2013.
Many employers will need help with their employee training, especially considering the fast approaching deadline! This Isn't Optional.
Don't wait to get started.