GHS to bring changes to labeling, classification of hazardous chemicals
By Art Powell
| | March 6, 2013
03/06/2013 -- Editor's note: The article provided by the Risk Management Office was originally written by Art Powell, writer, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/ Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala.
Marines and Civilian-Marines who handle hazardous chemicals as part of their job will soon begin training for changes coming to the labeling and classification of chemicals in the workplace.
The Globally Harmonized System, a United Nations initiative recently adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will standardize the way chemical-based hazards are communicated to workers, primarily through labeling and safety data sheets.
“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious hazards facing American workers today,” Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said. “Revising Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Hazard Communication Standard to harmonize with global standards will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive.”
Integration of the GHS will be completed through several phases, training being the first.
Leaders and managers will have until Dec. 1, 2013, to ensure their Marines and employees are trained to standard on new label elements and safety data sheet format.
Implementation of all GHS requirements must be completed by June 1, 2016.
The GHS enhances hazard communication and will ultimately make the workplace safer.
Standardization will allow Marines and Civilian-Marines to more accurately identify risks and take necessary precautions, especially when working with hazardous chemicals that come from international manufacturers.
Risk Management personnel will provide several GHS awareness tools, including a GHS training video and a training package, to assist with the transition.
For more information, call 229-639-5249.