New OSHA Hazard Communication Standard Requires Training by Dec. 1

New OSHA Hazard Communication Standard Requires Training by Dec. 1

Friday, October 11, 2013

On March 20, 2012, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) revised the Hazard Communication Standard to align the regulation with the provisions of the globally harmonized system of classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS).

These changes will impact all users of hazardous chemicals at UNH. GHS is an international, standardized approach to hazard communication. The introduction of this new system ensures that chemical users worldwide will understand the labeling and hazard identification associated with chemicals. 

The intent of GHS is to ensure hazard classifications are consistent and standardized on an international level. This will help prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities while ensuring the safe use of chemicals from cradle to grave. The GHS benefits include consistency and quality of information by adopting a standardized worldwide approach for chemical classification, standardized labels and safety data sheets.

What are the major changes to the hazard communication standard?

Safety Data Sheets (SDS):

The material safety data sheet (MSDS) will be replaced with a safety data sheet (SDS) that will have 16 sections in an established format. 


Chemical manufacturers are required to provide a label that includes the chemical name, signal words indicating the relative degree of severity of a hazard (such as “danger” and “warning”), and pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. 

Hazard classification:

The physical and health hazards of each chemical (and chemical mixtures) have to be identified by the manufacturer using specific criteria for classification. There are criteria established for 16 physical hazards and 10 health hazards. 

Hazard Ratings

Be aware of the fact that a significant change has occurred with respect to hazard ratings under GHS. Numeric hazard ratings in GHS are the opposite of what they were with the hazardous materials identification system (HMIS) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).  Now, the lower the rating, the higher the hazard. The numeric hazard ratings for a chemical will be included on the SDS.  

Information and Training:

Adoption of the new regulation will require training to ensure that employees can recognize and understand the new labels and safety data sheets.

What does this mean for you?

Those employees (both faculty and staff) who use, handle, and/or require contact with hazardous chemicals must take GHS training no later than Dec.1, 2013. While not required, all other employees are strongly encouraged to participate in the training.

OEHS has developed three training modules that cover the necessary training components. Each module is approximately 20 minutes in length. Click here to complete the three modules and the training tutorial. Once completed this will satisfy your hazard communication/GHS training requirement. Should you have any questions, contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 2-4041 or