The United States is adopting the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) that will standardize classification and labeling of chemical and other hazards.
The pictograms and hazards are similar to those that have traditionally been used in the U.S., but have slight differences.
A poster showing the new symbols is available for you to download. You can see more about the process in the OSHA-produced video GHS labeling Requirements: Understanding OSHA’s Revised Haz-Com Requirements.
There also is a change in the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), now called Safety Data Sheets (SDS), that are provided for each hazardous chemical. The information in the new SDS is basically the same as the MSDS, but will now be presented in a more user-friendly 16-section format.
To make maintaining SDSs more convenient, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) has purchased ChemWatch Backpack. The stand-alone database will allow everyone with an eRaider log-in to search for any chemical and print an SDS. In addition to printing full a full SDS, ChemWatch will provide a one page summary SDS as well as secondary container labels.
There will be links to ChemWatch on the EH&S website and to the EH Assist webpage. There are tutorials available to help you learn how to best use ChemWatch. The tutorials can be found in the upper navigation to the right of the screen under eLearning. The first two modules will provide the training needed to use the program. The remaining modules provide advanced training on other elements of ChemWatch including risk assessment and label generation for chemical containers.
In the U.S., universities must educate their faculty, staff and students about the GHS by December 2013. One way Texas Tech can demonstrate university compliance is for faculty, staff and students who work around chemicals and other hazardous equipment or materials in our laboratories, shops and studios to take the hazard communication online training on the Division of Environmental Health and Safety website by Dec. 31, 2013.
If there are questions, please contact EH&S at 742-3876.
Further information is available at:
- OSHA Brief, Hazard Communications Standard: Labels and Pictograms
- OSHA Brief, Hazard Communications Standard: Safety Data Sheets
- Alliance Committee of the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication and OSHA
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