Hazmat Management: International System Targets Labels, MSDS
A key component of properly managing hazardous materials involves compliance with requirements for classification and labeling of chemicals by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Maintenance and engineering managers also must be aware of numerous international requirements.
OSHA is pushing for adoption of the United Nation's Global Harmonized System (GHS) to classify and label chemical information to meet all of these regulatory requirements. OSHA officials hope universal classification, labeling, and materials safety data sheets (MSDS) for hazardous materials will simplify information on these materials and make them easier to understand.
No regulatory mandate exists for implementing GHS, although many manufacturers are working to comply because they believe adoption of most of its requirements is inevitable.
Differences between current OSHA requirements and the proposed GHS requirements are available at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/.
Jeffery C. Camplin is president of Camplin Environmental Services Inc., in Rosemont, Ill.