GHS HazCom is a standardized hazard communications system implemented by the United Nations; the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) allows for greater compatibility for meeting labelling and SDS (MSDS) requirements worldwide. Initially introduced in 1983, OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standards (HCS or HazCom) protects American workers from the dangers associated with hazardous products used and stored in the workplace. Employers are legally required to train their employees on any federally implemented regulations related to the handling of chemicals in the workplace and by doing so, employees are more informed about hazards associated with the handling of chemical products.
Consolidation of the U.N.’s GHS with OSHA’s HazCom constitutes what is known as GHS HazCom. In March 2012, GHS HazCom integration became finalized, officially titled HCS 2012. This modification lead to systematic changes of how hazards are communicated in the workplace. The update greatly emphasizes the principles of global harmonization in alignment with GHS, focusing on the standardization of hazard classification procedures, label formatting, and SDS content requirements. The final stages of the GHS HazCom transition came to a close on 1 June 2016, at which point all chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers were required to be fully compliant with HCS 2012.
To learn more about the elements comprising the GHS, OSHA’s HazCom, and other terms related to chemical compliancy, please visit our Glossary Terms page.