US Joins Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communications

This year marks the start of a major transition in Hazard Communication Standards (HCS) for any district that handles chemicals. The United States is aligning its standards with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Hazard Communications. This new system will be used throughout world, and was designed by the United Nations to have uniform and easy to understand hazard warnings on any shipments that could contain harmful materials. Employers in the United States are required to begin training their employees by December 1, 2013 on this new system.

As part of this roll-out, the Hazard Communication Standard will require pictograms on all warning labels to alert users of chemical hazards to which they may be exposed. This will be in effect on June 1, 2015. Each pictogram consists of a symbol on a white background framed within a red border to represent a distinct hazard. The pictogram on the label is determined by the chemical hazard classification. The pictograms will feature prominently on the label, as shown on the sample.

Your district could see this on any chemicals you receive including pesticides, fertilizers, pressurized gases, or even cleaning solutions. It would be a good idea to take this opportunity to also update your district’s MSDS book. More information on this system is available at OSHA’s website.

Health Hazards FlameHealth Hazards

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Exclamation MarkExclamation Mark

  • Carcinogenic
  • Mutagenic
  • Reproductive Toxicity
  • Respiratory Sensitizer
  • Target Organ Toxicity
  • Aspiration Toxicity
  • Flammables
  • Pyrophorics
  • Self-Heating
  • Emits Flammable Gas
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides
  • Skin & Eye Irritants
  • Skin Sensitizers
  • Acute Toxicity
  • Narcotics
  • Respiratory Tract Irritant
  • Hazardous to Ozone

Gas Cylinder

Gas Cylinder

Corrosion

Corrosion

Exploding Bomb

Exploding Bomb

  • Gas Under Pressure
  • Skin Corrosion / Burns
  • Eye Damage
  • Corrosive to Metals
  • Explosive
  • Self-Reactive
  • Organic Peroxide

Flame over Circle

Flame over Circle

Environmental

Environmental

Skull and Crossbones

Skull and Crossbones

  • Oxidizers
  • Aquatic Toxicity
  • Acute Toxicity
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