The Importance of GHS
A common set of classification and communication
What is GHS?
The United Nations (UN) Global Harmonized System (GHS) is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals through new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) formats and Labeling requirements.
Recently the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) aligned their Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling. Meanwhile in Canada, Health Canada is proposing new regulations titled Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) that will incorporate the new GHS criteria for hazard classification and communication, and will amend and align Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to that standard.
Many countries already have regulatory systems in place for these types of requirements. These systems may be similar incontent and approach, but their differences are significant enough to require multiple classifications, labels and safety data sheets for the same product when marketed in different countries, or even in the same country when parts of the life cycle are covered by different regulatory authorities. This leads to inconsistent protection for those potentially exposed to the chemicals, as well as creating extensive regulatory burdens on companies producing chemicals. By utilizing a common set of classification and communication guidelines (including a defined and agreed set of pictograms), this complexity and confusion can be minimized.
BASF is currently positioned to complete the necessary GHS requirements well ahead of the June 1, 2015 deadline to provide ample time for our customers’ transition process. We will continue to provide important GHS updates as needed.