Global Harmonized System & Hazard Communication (HazCom)

Course Introduction

Chemicals pose a wide range of health hazards (such as irritation, sensitization, and carcinogenicity) and physical hazards (such as flammability, corrosion, and reactivity). OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is designed to ensure that information about these hazards and associated protective measures is disseminated to workers and employers. This is accomplished by requiring chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and to provide information about them through labels on containers and more detailed information sheets called

Course Details

  • Describe the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standards
  • Describe the basic elements of the Hazard Communications Program
  • Discuss the nature of chemical hazards and the types of exposures they present
  • List the information required on container labels
  • Describe the required sections of a Safety Data Sheet; and
  • Identify the basic requirements of the hazard communication training program.

What is the GHS?

GHS stands for the "Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals". GHS is a system that defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and communicates health and safety information on labels and safety data sheets or SDSs. The goal is that the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world.

GHS promises to deliver several benefits. Among them are:

  • promoting regulatory efficiency
  • facilitating trade
  • easing compliance
  • reducing costs
  • providing improved, consistent hazard information
  • encouraging the safe transport, handling and use of chemicals
  • promoting better emergency response to chemical incidents, and
  • reducing the need for animal testing

What are the two major elements in GHS?

The two major elements of GHS are:

1. Classification of the hazards of chemicals according to the GHS rules: GHS provides guidance on classifying pure chemicals and mixtures according to its criteria or rules.

2. Communication of the hazards and precautionary information using Safety Data Sheets and labels:

  • Labels - With the GHS system, certain information will appear on the label. For example, the chemical identity may be required. Standardized hazard statements, signal words and symbols will appear on the label according to the classification of that chemical or mixture. Precautionary statements may also be required, if adopted by your regulatory authority.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) - The GHS SDS has 16 sections in a set order, and information requirements are required.