In 1992 the lack of a global hazard communication consensus was identified, and the United Nations began developing a system. Eleven years later in 2003, the U.N. finally published what is known as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS for short. The GHS was developed as a common and coherent approach to defining and classifying hazards for chemicals, and communicating such information on labels and safety data sheets (we are no longer calling them Material Safety Data Sheets). The GHS was designed to only provide the underlying infrastructure for the establishment of national, comprehensive chemical safety programs.
Nine years after the U.N. published the first version of GHS, OSHA has updated the HazCom Standard to be consistent with the GHS. Effective May 25, 2012, OSHA modified the HazCom Standard to adopt the GHS to improve safety and health of workers through more effective communications of chemical hazards. OSHA adopted the 3rd revision of the GHS.
Scope and application are basically the same
Essential components include:
Evaluation of chemicals (New procedures for evaluating chemicals and developing SDS and labels)
Written hazard communication requirement, i.e. SDS and labels
As of June 1, 2015, the HCS will require new 16-Section SDSs to be in a uniform format, and include the section numbers, the headings, and associated information under the headings.
As of June 1, 2015, all labels will be required to have pictograms, a signal word, hazard and precautionary statements, the product identifier, and supplier identification.
By December 1, 2013, employees must initially be trained to recognize the new label elements and the new 16 section SDS format.
Trade secret provision remains the same