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Global Harmonization System: Impact On OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard


Global Harmonization System: Impact On OSHA s Hazard Communication Standard Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP Law Office of Adele L. Abrams P.C. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Global Harmonization System: Impact On OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard

Global Harmonization SystemImpact On OSHAs
Hazard Communication Standard
  • Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP
  • Law Office of Adele L. Abrams P.C.
  • 301-595-3520

  • OSHA has issued final rule to revise 29 CFR
    1910.1200 (Hazard Communication Standard)
  • Details released 3/20/12, final rule to appear in
    3/26/12 Fed. Reg.
  • Goal is to integrate components of the UN
    projects Global Harmonization Standard (GHS)
    into HazCom
  • Rule modifies MSDS requirements, labeling,
    classifications, and requires retraining of all
  • Significant opposition to standard from some
    business groups due to
  • Inclusion of unclassified hazards- altered in
    final rule, but legal challenges possible
  • Some disputed economic impact estimates (costs of
    training, revised labels and MSDSs etc.)

  • Hazard classification Provides specific criteria
    for classification of health and physical
    hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Labels Chemical manufacturers and importers will
    be required to provide a label that includes a
    harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard
    statement for each hazard class and category.
    Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets Will now have a specified
    16-section format.
  • Information and training The Final HCS will
    require that workers are trained within two years
    of the publication of the final rule to
    facilitate recognition and understanding of the
    new labels and safety data sheets.

Global Harmonization Project
  • Goal of establishing globally harmonized system
    for hazard communication established in 1992 at
    Rio Earth Summit.
  • Mandate A globally harmonized hazard
    classification and compatible labelling system,
    including national safety data sheets and easily
    understandable symbols, should be available, if
    feasible, by the year 2000.

Global Harmonization Project
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and
    Development (OECD) coordinated the development of
    environmental and health hazard classification
  • UN Committee of Experts on Transport of Dangerous
    Goods (UN COE) developed criteria for physical
    hazards (explosives, flammables, reactives).
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) served as
    Secretariat for overall coordination.

Global Harmonization Project
  • Rationale for U.S. adoption of GHS
  • American companies are major importers of
    chemicals as well as exporters, and missing or
    incomplete information on chemicals we import may
    lead to reduced protections for workers and
  • Large number of varying requirements around the
    world create potential barriers to trade in
    chemicals, particularly for small businesses.
  • A harmonized and consistent approach has benefits
    both in terms of protection and trade.

GHS General Principles
  • The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is not in
    itself a regulation or a model regulation. It is
    a framework from which competent authorities may
    select the appropriate harmonized classification
    communication elements.
  • Competent authorities will decide how to apply
    the various elements of the GHS within their
    systems based on their needs and the target
  • OSHA had to adopt through conventional rulemaking
    (governed by APA) before it can include
    components in mandatory HazCom standard
  • MSHA has not yet placed HazCom revision (30 CFR
    Part 47) on its agenda
  • The HazCom/GHS includes the following basic
  • harmonized criteria for classifying substances
    and mixtures according to their health,
    environmental and physical hazards and
  • harmonized hazard communication elements,
    including requirements for labeling and material
    safety data sheets.

OSHA Rulemaking Old Rule
  • HazCom has been in effect for over 25 years
    foundation for building a chemical health and
    safety program in workplace
  • Addresses needs of employers/employees to obtain
    information about chemicals, and worker
    right-to-know about hazards
  • Requires chemical manufacturers and importers to
    evaluate hazards and provide info to customers
    through labels, data sheets and worker training
  • Also addresses trade secret protection
  • Requires all chemicals to be evaluated and
    incorporates wide range of hazardous effects to
    be addressed.
  • OSHA claims HazCom has resulted in 40 decrease
    in injuries/illnesses due to chemical exposures

OSHA Final Rule
  • GHS specifies warnings and format
  • Method of communication and information
    transmitted now varies GHS makes more
  • GHS system is based on international negotiations
    and OSHA plans to learn from implementation
    experience of other nations
  • New rule does NOT reduce level of protections
    afforded under original HazCom standard (29 CFR

OSHA Final Rule
  • Effective Dates
  • 12/1/13 All employees must be trained on new
    label elements and SDS format
  • 6/1/15 Manufacturers and distributors must
    comply with all modified provisions except that
    distributors have until 12/1/15 to provide
    revised labels for all products shipped.
  • 6/1/16 OSHA enforcement starts Employers must
    update all labels and HazCom program, provide
    additional training for workers on newly
    identified physical or health hazards
  • During transition period, employers can comply
    with old or new standard as far as labels and

OSHA Final Rule
  • GHS Building block approach allows competent
    authorities to choose from regulatory options in
    terms of which hazard classes and categories are
  • OSHA adopted the same basic BB as the EU EXCEPT
    it will not address environmental hazards
    (outside jurisdiction) and it adds one more
    category of the flammable liquid class than EU
  • System has 16 physical hazard classifications and
    10 health hazard classifications, which determine
    label elements, pictograms, hazard statement,
    signal words and precautionary statement

Sample Comments - Union
  • AFL-CIO strongly supported proposal but wanted
    OSHA to expand exposure limits listed on SDSs to
    include ACGIH TLVs and NIOSH RELs, because OSHA
    PELs are outdated
  • Union also wanted substance-specific standards to
    be included in SDSs (Sec. 15) to alert workers
    that there is a comprehensive standard on that
  • Union supported adding a definition of
    unclassified hazards to make sure that emergent
    hazards can be included within the scope of
    HazCom and to address combustible dust hazards.

Sample Comment - Business
  • US Chamber of Commerce had several meeting with
    OIRA opposing inclusion of unclassified hazards
    in the rule
  • It has also challenged the purported cost savings
    as well as the economic impact analysis prepared
    by OSHA
  • Urged switching the compliance deadlines
    (currently 2 years to train, 3 years to prepare
    new SDSs) so training can be done after SDSs are
  • Another group with significant concerns is the
    American Chemistry Council, which also met with

Sample Comments ASSE
  • ASSE endorsed the rule, but was disappointed
    that control banding was ignored in the
    development of the rule
  • Urged OSHA to incorporate elements of control
    banding into HazCom to avoid need to revisit this
  • Challenged cost estimates for training time
  • Suggested ACGIH TLVs should continue to be listed
    as well as NIOSH RELs, and suggested additional
    references to be considered by end users (AIHA
    also supports retention of TLVs and RELs)
  • Advocated a quicker effective date for training
    but not for phsae in for the SDS and labeling
    requirements, and recommended significant
    compliance assistance be made available from OSHA

Whats the Impact?
  • Rule will impact over 5 million workplaces, and
    43 million workers
  • OSHA claims costs range from 38-47 per covered
    entity for one-hour of training
  • This did not add costs for developing new labels,
    SDSs etc.
  • According to OSHA
  • Annualized savings for employers of between 585
    mil and 798 mil
  • Most of this through increased productivity for
    HS managers and logistics personnel
  • Expect 500 workplace injuries and 43 fatalities
    to be prevented annually as a result of change
  • Savings attributed to uniform SDSs and labels
    accounts for between 16 mil and 32.2 mil

Safety Data Sheet Impact
  • The performance orientation of HazComs MSDS will
    need to be changed.
  • Use ANSI Z400.1 as template
  • HazCom/GHS requires a 16 section MSDS format with
    specified sequence and minimum required contents.
  • OSHA will not enforce elements 12-15 because deal
    with tranport, environmental issues outside
  • The level of hazardous components can be given as
    ranges or concentrations - the values for
    component disclosure in mixtures vary by end
    point. Therefore, some changes will be needed for
    component disclosure.

Appendix D SDS Requirements
  • 1.Identification of the substance or mixture and
    of the supplier
  • 2.Hazards identification
  • 3.Composition/information on ingredients
  • 4.First aid measures
  • 5.Firefighting measures
  • 6.Accidental release measures
  • 7.Handling and storage
  • 8.Exposure controls/personal protection.
  • 9.Physical and chemical properties
  • 10.Stability and reactivity
  • 11.Toxicological
  • 12.Ecological information (non mandatory)
  • 13.Disposal considerations (non mandatory)
  • 14.Transport information (non mandatory)
  • 15.Regulatory information (non mandatory)
  • 16.Other information including information on
    preparation and revision of the SDS 

Hazard Determination
  • Hazard determination/classification are
    self-classification processes manufactures and
    importers must classify each chemical, determine
    appropriate hazard class and category based on
    evaluation of full range of available
  • No testing is required
  • OSHA adopted one study rule for findings of
  • Appendix A defines health and physical hazards
  • Appendix B includes additional parameters to
    evaluate health hazard data
  • Appendix F pertains to carcinogens
  • A floor of chemicals to be considered hazardous
    is provided by reference to several existing
    lists of chemicals
  • Added supplemental class Hazards not otherwise
    classified and included coverage of combustible

Physical Hazards
Health Hazards
Current HCS versus Modified HCS
HCS Corrosive definition
GHS definition of skin Corrosive
  • "Corrosive" A chemical that causes visible
    destruction of, or irreversible alterations in,
    living tissue by chemical action at the site of
    contact. For example, a chemical is considered to
    be corrosive if, when tested on the intact skin
    of albino rabbits by the method described by the
    U.S. Department of Transportation in appendix A
    to 49 CFR part 173, it destroys or changes
    irreversibly the structure of the tissue at the
    site of contact following an exposure period of
    four hours. This term shall not refer to action
    on inanimate surfaces.

Acute Toxicity
  • For labeling, manufacturer/importer must include
  • Product identifier
  • Signal word
  • Hazard statement(s)
  • Pictogram(s)
  • Precautionary statement(s)
  • Name, address, and telephone number of
    responsible party
  • Once a chemical has been classified, the label
    preparer can obtain the relevant harmonized
    information from Appendix C
  • OSHA is maintaining the flexibility for workplace
    signs and labels.
  • Use of third party hazard rating systems such as
    the NFPA diamonds and HMIS is still a valid
    approach in the workplace

Comparison of Labeling Requirements
  • Old HazCom label requirements are totally
    performance -- oriented.
  • The HazCom/GHS labeling requirements are
    specified signal words, hazard statements, and
  • The use of pictograms is a significant change for
    US labeling.
  • OSHA has retained NTP/OSHA/IARC carcinogen info
  • OSHA has retained references to ACGIH TLVs

Other Issues
  • Will affect other standards (specific health
    standards) that have incorporated references to
  • Health hazard classification also includes
    specific listing for crystalline silica
  • For combustible dust, may need to cross-reference
    NFPA 654
  • Listings on SDS could also lead to GDC
    enforcement where no PEL established for a
    chemical, as a recognized hazard, as well as
    enforcement over appropriate PPE/respiratory
    protection assessment (1910.132 and 1910.134)
  • Expect OSHA to issue guidance within 6 mo. many
    letters of interpretation are sure to follow!

(No Transcript)
GHS Sample Label HAZARDS (Liquid) flammable
liquid, flash point 120F  oral LD50 275
  • Danger!
  • Toxic if swallowedFlammable liquid and vapor
  • Contains XYZ
  • Do not taste or swallow.  Get medical
    attention.  Do not take internally.  Wash
    thoroughly after handling.  Keep away from heat,
    sparks and flame.  Keep container closed.  Use
    only with adequate ventilation. FIRST AIDIf
    swallowed, induce vomiting immediately, as
    directed by medical personnel. Never give
    anything by mouth to an unconscious person.See
    Material Safety Data Sheet for further details
    regarding safe use of this product.Company
    name, Address, Phone number

GHS Sample Label Suspected Carcinogen
  • My Product
  • Warning!Cause Skin And Eye IrritationSuspected
    of causing cancer by inhalationContains XYZDo
    not breathe vapors or mist. Use only with
    adequate ventilation. Avoid contact with eyes,
    skin and clothing. Wash thoroughly after
    handlingFIRST AIDEYES Immediately flush eyes
    with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get
    medical attention.SKIN In case of contact,
    immediately flush skin with plenty of water.
    Remove contaminated clothing and shoes. Wash
    clothing before reuse. Get medical attention if
    irritation develops and persists.Company name,
    Address, Phone number HAZARDS (Liquid)
    moderate skin and eye irritant, possible cancer
    hazard by inhalation

HazCom/GHS - Training
  • Training users of hazard information is integral
    part of hazard communication.
  • Systems should identify appropriate education and
    training for GHS target audiences who must
    interpret label and/or SDS information and take
    action in response to chemical hazards.
  • Training should address workers, emergency
    responders, and those involved with preparation
    of labels, SDS and HazCom strategies as part of
    risk management systems.
  • Systems should also educate consumers in
    interpreting label information on products they

HazCom/GHS Summary
  • Level of protection offered to workers,
    consumers, general public and environment will
    not be reduced by GHS
  • Involvement of concerned organizations of
    employers, workers, consumers and other relevant
    groups is essential
  • Validated data already generated for
    classification of chemicals under existing
    systems should be accepted when reclassifying the
    chemicals under Haz/Com/GHS
  • The new harmonized system may require adaptation
    of existing methods for testing.

GHS and Control Banding
  • GHS establishes an international system of
    classification and labeling that can be used in
    control banding.
  • Control Banding provides an additional impetus
    for implementation of the GHS as a practical use
    of the information to control exposures.
  • GHS adoption does not mean that control banding
    must be implemented, but . . .
  • US/EU have proposed a pilot project related to
    the GHS and control banding, based on 2 high
    production volume chemicals.
  • Information on project available at

  • Training of workers can begin immediately
  • As new products are ordered, make sure to keep
    SDSs in new formats
  • Companies that manufacture products will have to
    conform to both employer and manufacturer
    provisions of revised HazCom rule
  • Litigation is possible over inclusion of hazards
    not otherwise classified, and combustible dust
    could delay effective dates but best to prepare
    for dates listed.

  • Overall benefits of globally harmonized system
  • Promotes safer transportation, handling and use
    of chemicals
  • Improves understanding of hazards
  • Increases compliance and reduces costs for
    companies involved in international activities
  • Helps protect workers, consumers and potential
    exposed populations around the globe.
  • Bottom Line A new OSHA HazCom standard is
    inevitable . . . Plan ahead!

  • Contact Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP
  • at 301-595-3520 or write to
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