HR Management & Compliance

Are You on Track with GHS Training?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has given businesses the following timetable for complying with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

May 25, 2012 to November 30, 2013

All employers that use, handle, and store chemicals must train employees how to read and interpret chemical labels and (material) safety data sheets (M)(SDSs) in compliance with either:

  • The pre-GHS HazCom standard for labels and MSDSs; or
  • The revised HazCom standard with GHS for new-style labels and SDSs; or
  • Both old and new requirements at the same time.

December 1, 2013

All employers that use, handle, and store chemicals must train employees about the new GHS-compliant chemical labels and SDSs.

June 1, 2015

Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors must comply with all the requirements of the GHS rule, including classifying chemical hazards and preparing new labels and SDSs. Distributors have until December 1, 2015, to comply with the shipping requirements for GHS-compliant labels.

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December 1, 2015

All employers that use, handle, and/or store chemicals must ensure that all shipments of chemical containers include the new GHS-compliant label (signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement).

June 1, 2016

All employers that use, handle, and store chemicals must update the alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

Here are the basics of what employees need to learn about the new 16-section SDS and new labels.

Safety Data Sheets

  • Section 1—Identification—includes product identifier, manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number, emergency phone number, recommended use, and restrictions on use
  • Section 2—Hazard(s) identification—includes all hazards regarding the chemical and required label elements
  • Section 3—Composition/Information on ingredients—includes information on chemical ingredients and trade secret claims
  • Section 4—First-aid measures—includes important immediate or delayed symptoms of exposure to a chemical and the required first-aid treatment
  • Section 5—Fire-fighting measures—lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment, and chemical hazards from fire

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  • Section 6—Accidental release measures—lists emergency procedures, protective equipment, and proper methods of containment and cleanup
  • Section 7—Handling and storage—lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities
  • Section 8—Exposure controls/Personal protection—lists OSHA’s permissible exposure limits (PELs), threshold limit values (TLVs), appropriate engineering controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Section 9—Physical and chemical properties—lists the chemical’s characteristics
  • Section 10—Stability and reactivity—lists chemical stability and possible hazardous reactions
  • Section 11—Toxicological information—includes routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or absorption contact), symptoms, acute and chronic effects, and numerical measures of toxicity
  • Section 12—Ecological information—how the chemical might affect the environment and the duration of the effect
  • Section 13—Disposal considerations—describes safe handling of wastes and methods of disposal, including the disposal of any contaminated packaging
  • Section 14—Transportation information—includes packing, marking, and labeling requirements for hazardous chemical shipments
  • Section 15—Regulatory information—indicates regulations that apply to the chemical
  • Section 16—Other information—includes date of preparation or last revision


All GHS-compliant labels will have the following components:

  • Product identifier gives a name or number that enables you to identify the chemical and cross-reference the label to the SDS.
  • Supplier information tells you the name, address, and phone number of the manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party.
  • First-aid information can help you act quickly and effectively in an emergency.
  • In case of fire, the label tells you how to extinguish it.
  • Signal word indicates the severity of the hazard.
  • Hazard statements describe the nature of the hazards.
  • Pictograms convey specific hazard information using symbols or graphics.
  • Precautionary statements describe recommended measures to minimize or prevent injury or illness due to exposure to the chemical or from improper handling or storage.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll quiz your GHS knowledge, plus present a dynamic training resource full of prewritten PowerPoint® training presentations on key safety topics.

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