General Information on GHS:
Different countries around the world have had different hazard communication systems in place for safety communication about hazardous chemicals. Often, these systems have been coordinated so that they are recognizable in many different countries and consisted mainly of training, a MSDS, and product labels. Just the same, there were often significant differences in the format and information on these safety communications.
In an effort to standardize hazard communications, the UN along with a number of experts created a new change in safety communications for workplaces, the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals). This is set to standardize classification of chemicals and their associated health, physical and environmental hazards, as well as the communication of these hazards through safety data sheets and labels.
The GHS has been formally and legally adopted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. The timelines for implementation vary from country to country, but OSHA in the United States has set a date of June 1, 2015 for full implementation of this system by chemical suppliers and manufacturers. Implementation in Canada is taking place from 2015 to mid 2017.
To implement the GHS, Erie / EPC has worked diligently through the legislation to make sure that our products and shipments will meet the requirements of the new legislation. To satisfy the requirements of the GHS, you will see the following components changing:
In the past, safety information at EPC was printed directly onto the box. This included general safety information and a reference to view the MSDS. For the new GHS compliant labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category. This information will differ in format from the previous labels. The labels will include:
Signal Word: The signal word is either “DANGER” for more severe hazards, or “WARNING” for less severe hazards. In general, the powder coatings that Erie / EPC ships will be labeled with “WARNING”
Pictograms: These are visual representations of the hazard, and are defined by the legislation. OSHA has mandated that these are printed in color on the labels.
For a complete list of pictograms, please go to www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs.html
Hazard Statement: Hazard statements list a summary of the hazards associated with the product or ingredients in the product.
Precautionary Statement: The precautionary statement is a summary of the recommended practices and measures to reduce or minimize the adverse effects of the product in the workplace.
Safety Data Sheets:
Along with the change in the labeling of chemicals and products, the Safety Data Sheets are also revised for the GHS. Previously, information was communicated on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). With the GHS, this has been changed to a Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
The classification, and communication of the data has been standardized so that the presentation of the information is common from SDS to SDS. For example on MSDS sheets, there were frequently 9, 10 or 16 sections to the sheet, and no defined order of the sections. With the SDS, the name of each section, the order of the sections, and the number of sections are all defined by the GHS and should be common on all SDS from all suppliers. The aim of this is to allow easier identification and discovery of the information contained in the SDS.
While there are format and information changes on the SDS compared to the MSDS, the two systems are similar enough that most persons who are familiar and trained on MSDS sheets will easily recognize the data and communication information on a SDS.
Training for the new system is essential. Legislation in both Canada and the USA has stipulated that workers be trained in the new system.
Implementation of GHS at Erie Powder Coatings / EPC Powder Mfg.
Customers of EPC / Erie Powder will begin to see the new labels and will be shipped the new SDS sheets. Full implementation of this system is expected at Erie / EPC by the end of April 2015 in the United States and shortly thereafter in Canada.
Information Change does not mean Product Change
Last, please note, the information and communication of hazard information is being revised by our company to meet legislation on GHS. However, the hazards associated with our products, and the products themselves are not changing.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your sales rep or our office.