OSHA's New Globally Harmonized System - 11/04/2013

Safety E-QuickTips

U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Safety E-QuickTips is a weekly email designed to help Employers and Employees start their week with a short thought about safety in the workplace.

OSHA's New Globally Harmonized System


In the past few months we've been getting more calls asking about the Globally Harmonized System, OSHA's revision to the Hazard Communication Standard. Specific questions include:

  • "What is this all about?"
  • "I see we have to provide our employees some training by December 1, 2013 to meet the new Global Harmonization requirements. Can you help?"
  • "Does your Hazard Communication Program include the Global Harmonization requirements?"

So today I thought we would talk a little about OSHA's new Globally Harmonized System, what it means to your company and what you will need to do to meet the December 1, 2013 training requirements.

What is the Globally Harmonized System?

OSHA says it best in one of their fact sheets. "OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and published it in the Federal Register in March 2012 (77 FR 17574). Two significant changes contained in the revised standard require the use of new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). The new label elements and SDS requirements will improve worker understanding of the hazards associated with the chemicals in their workplace."

How will you meet the December 1, 2013 training requirements?

This week one of our clients emailed a question asking if they could provide their employees the required training or would they have to use an OSHA certified instructor. This is a question we hear a lot when it comes to training. You do not have to have an OSHA certified instructor provide the training and if you did you would be hard pressed to find one since OSHA does not certify anyone for anything. Yes, you can perform the training in-house as long as you meet the following requirement.

You must provide effective training and OSHA says, "Effective means that the information and training program must work. Employees must carry the knowledge from the training into their daily jobs. For example, if asked, they should know where hazardous chemicals are present in their work area, and should also know how to protect themselves."

Now let's talk about what training is required and what needs to be included. By December 1, 2013 you must provide your employees training on the new label elements and the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) formats. And if you didn't already know, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are replacing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

OSHA has put together some good information on the training requirements and also has some good training materials that you can access at no cost. Use this link to the "OSHA Fact Sheet" to access the information.

And as always, don't forget to document your training. If you are a current client you can use the "Certificate of Training" located in Safety Manual Appendix A: Training of your Federal OSHA Safety Program.

Lastly, does our Hazard Communication Program include the Global Harmonization requirements?

The answer is yes. Our programs have been updated since July of this year to meet the Global Harmonization requirements. If you are one of our clients and have not downloaded or printed the current version of your Hazard Communication Program or provided your employees the required training, please log into your account at www.uscompliancesystems.com and open Safety Manual Section III of your Federal OSHA Safety Program to access the update.

If you have any any additional questions about OSHA's new Globally Harmonized System, give us a call toll free at 888-475-5353.

Don't forget to check out our current blog posting, "Who In Your Company Is Involved" and give us your thoughts and input.

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Thanks for Reading and Please - Work Safe This Week!

Contact Information


U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.
Phone: 1-888-475-5353
Fax: 1-888-925-5353
Website: www.uscompliancesystems.com
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