US companies have until June 1 to update their workplace chemical labels to comply with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).
GHS, which was established by the United Nations, aims to standardize the way hazardous chemicals are identified and labeled. OSHA set the US deadline, and says the new standard covers over 43 million workers who produce or handle hazardous chemicals in more than 5 million workplaces across the country.
EHS Today reports in an industrial setting, industrial primers, coatings, sealants and lubricants; greases, cutting oils and rust removers; acid-, alkaline-and solvent-based cleaners; and degreasers, surfactants, disinfectants and sanitizers are among the chemical formulations that could require GHS labeling.
“Staying GHS compliant will not only help industrial end users avoid OSHA fines, sanctions or auditing, but also position them ahead of the curve if other industry standards are allowed to sunset,” Glenn Hallett, president of RightAnswer.com Inc., a chemical compliance and information specialist, told the publication.
EHS Today also offers six tips for GHS chemical labeling compliance, including: have GHS-compliant safety data sheets (SDS) and labels and train workers to handle hazardous chemicals properly.
A white paper by 3E Company also helps companies streamline their safety data sheet management and comply with the June 1 GHS deadline. The white paper outlines obstacles to consider when developing an effective global strategy for SDS management — changing/conflicting regulations, varying local resources and infrastructure being among them.
The benefits to global SDS management, however, include more than increased compliance and reduced costs. It enables greater employee productivity as it removes chemical safety task replication between locations. It also helps companies amass a large, centralized repository of SDSs and product data, which can then be funneled into regulatory tracking, supply chain analysis and a host of other environmental, health and safety initiatives.
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