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Hazard Communication and the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

Related keywords: chemical hazard communication, Globally Harmonized System - GHS

New hazard communication pictograms.  Train workers by June 1, 2014, on the new GHS labeling system requires use of the pictograms shown here, a signal word (for example, danger), and statements about the hazards and precautions. See the Training & Videos section for training materials
GHS labeling requires use of the pictograms shown here, a signal word (for example, danger), and statements about the hazards and precautions. See a sample label (145 KB PDF).

Thousands of products and materials found in today's workplaces contain hazardous chemicals that can cause health problems from minor skin irritations to serious injuries or diseases like cancer.

Hazard communication rules were developed to make sure information about inherently hazardous chemicals is provided to employers and ultimately to employees so they become informed about chemical hazards found in the workplace.

These rules apply if you

  • have employees with potential for exposure to hazardous chemicals at work,
  • distribute hazardous chemicals to employers, or
  • manufacture (produce) or import hazardous chemicals.

Washington State's Hazard Communication (GHS) Rule, Chapter 296-901, WAC became effective April 15, 2013

It is substantially identical to OSHA's rule. As a result, labels on containers of chemicals and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are now required to follow GHS specifications. Other requirements such as training for employees on the GHS label and SDS changes also apply.

To learn more about GHS in Washington State, read Questions and Answers: Hazard Communication Standard (F417-242-000) or view the Hazard Communication/GHS Rules Update eLesson.

To learn more about how GHS started, visit OSHA's webpage (www.osha.gov).

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