The June 1, 2016 deadline past; employers must be in compliance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication or GHS standard through the updating of alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program (as necessary), and by providing additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

The GHS is an international approach to hazard communication, providing agreed criteria for classification of chemical hazards, and a standardized approach to label elements and safety data sheets. The GHS was negotiated in a multi-year process by hazard communication experts from many different countries, international organizations, and stakeholder groups. It is based on major existing systems around the world, including OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard and the chemical classification and labeling systems of other U.S. agencies.

The result of this negotiation process is the United Nations' document entitled "Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals," commonly referred to as The Purple Book. This document provides harmonized classification criteria for health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals. It also includes standardized label elements that are assigned to these hazard classes and categories and provide the appropriate signal words, pictograms, and hazard and precautionary statements to convey the hazards to users. A standardized order of information for safety data sheets is also provided. These recommendations can be used by regulatory authorities such as OSHA to establish mandatory requirements for hazard communication, but do not constitute a model regulation.

For more information, visit the OSHA website.