What is GHS? Globally Harmonized System


GHS is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This standard has been internationally agreed upon as a universal method of communicating chemical hazards, superseding local formats in the USA and around the world.


Over the next two years, employers are expected to update their labeling and signage according to the GHS, train employees to understand the new standards, and ensure that their facilities are completely GHS compliant.

Accuform Signs has developed a full range of GHS solutions to support a safer workplace according to the new standards.


Why is GHS important?

Chemicals are a fundamental part of the world economy. But currently, each country and each industry sector have a unique set of regulations. Not only can a lack of uniformity result in additional paperwork, but also misunderstood labels can lead to mishandling of chemicals. When global trade follows the same guidelines, we can be better assured of safe handling that protects both human health and the environment.

Where does OSHA fit in?

The UN’s GHS merely lays out the standardization practices for participating countries; it does not enforce compliance. It is up to each country to adopt, implement and enforce GHS through their enforcement agencies, like OSHA. OSHA has chosen to adopt GHS into the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) §1910.1200 and published the final rule on March 26, 2012.

What do I need to do now?

The first step towards compliance with the revised Hazard Communication Standard is to educate and train employees on new GHS label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format. Explanations of both are provided on the following pages. The compliance date to have all employees trained is December 1, 2013. Below you can find a timeline for each phase of compliance.

Global Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemical from Accuform