Millions of businesses and workers will be required to comply with the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Standard by December 1. The new standard covers any US worker who handles chemicals.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is adopting GHS to provide a single set of criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and to bring consistency to the labels and data sheets designed to communicate those hazards. The modified US standard will create global alignment among other OSHA standards and federal US agency regulations. In anticipation of this change, and as an initial step, OSHA requires all US workers who produce or handle hazardous chemicals be trained on the new label elements and format by December 1.
The new standard covers millions of US workers, and OSHA expects the modification to prevent hundreds of workplace injuries and illnesses, as well as dozens of fatalities. Once fully implemented, GHS is expected to result in cost savings to US businesses related to productivity improvements by requiring fewer label updates and simpler hazard communication training, according to OSHA officials.