Global Harmonization System (GHS)

Global Harmonization and the Hazard Communication Standard focuses on recent changes to the Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) OSHA's regulation that ensures that employees who work with chemicals are trained in their safe handling and use to recognize symptoms of adverse health effects related to exposure and to take appropriate measures in an emergency. All employees that work with hazardous materials were to be trained on the Global Harmonization System by December 1, 2013.

The latest update to HazCom takes a new approach to communicating information in order to ally it with the international initiative known as Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and is now being tagged Right to Understand. Changes include specific criteria in the way physical and health hazards are classified, new requirements for labels and a new format for Safety Data Sheets (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheets). Ultimately, GHS will affect other OSHA standards, and those of other standards-making organizations.

Safety Works, Maine Department of Labor has provided Free training for GHS for employers and employees. You will still have to model the training to your own workplace. An overview video of GHS is also included. It will cover the following topics:
  • Descriptions of the classifications and subcategories of physical and health hazards of chemicals
  • Information that must be included on a label
  • Signal words
  • Pictograms
  • Hazard statements
  • The 16 sections of Safety Data Sheets
View the OSHA / GHS Hazard Communication Information Chart (PDF).