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GHS – What is it?

by ICC Compliance Center on June 6, 2012 at 11:04 am · in Jim's Blog, Regulations, Safety

Many people are asking “What is GHS and what does it mean for me?” GHS is an acronym for Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The concept of GHS is to have a globally harmonized system in place for the classification of chemicals, the content of labels and safety data sheets (SDS). This concept is not new as the transportation sector has in place a global system for the transport of dangerous goods that covers classification of chemicals, packaging, labels, placards and shipping documents. The transport sector is governed by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNCETDG). As there was no harmonization in the workplace or consumer sectors, the UN expanded the UNCETDG and created the UNSCEGHS – United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on GHS. The UNCETDG was re-named UNSCETDG and both committees report to the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (CETDGGHS).

The first edition of GHS appeared in December 2002. The first revised edition was available in 2005 and contained amendments for items such as: aspiration hazards, guidance on pictograms, precautionary statements and preparation of SDSs. The second revised edition came out in 2007 containing amendments for: explosives, toxic by inhalation, skin sensitizers, respiratory sensitizers, building block approach and codification of precautionary and hazard statements. The third revised edition (2009) contained amendments for: labelling of small packages, chronic toxicity for aquatic environments and new provisions for the allocation of hazard statements. The fourth revised edition (2011) contains amendments for: new hazard categories for unstable gases and non-flammable aerosols, clarification of precautionary statements and further clarification of some of the criteria.
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OSHA is One Step Closer to Implementing GHS

by Barbara Foster on February 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm · in Barbara's Blog, Regulations

It appears that the Globally Harmonized System in the US is still not quite ready.

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), began a review on October 25, 2011, of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Docket No. OSHA–H022K–2006–0062, from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This amendment would adapt the hazard communication requirements of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR) to reflect the international standard known as the Globally Harmonized System, or GHS.

As its name implies, the OMB’s mission is to assist the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget, and review and oversee financial implications of new regulations. The office must review regulations before they can proceed to final publication.

The review of the proposed rulemaking was extended for a month in January, with the OMB issuing their completed report on February 21, 2012. The report indicates that the amendment is accepted “consistent with change”. This indicates that the agency, though accepting the amendment in general, will require some changes before being finalized. However, the report from the OMB does not indicate if these changes will be minor or much more substantial.

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