Globally Harmonized System: U.S. Final Rule

Apr 28th, 2012 | By | Category: Environmental Management, Health and Safety


On March 26, 2012 the United States Federal Register published the final rule on the Hazard Communication Standard/Globally Harmonized System. This final rule will become effective 60 days after the date of publication. The changes will bring the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard, which was first adopted in 1983, in line with the international Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

The new rule will provide all employees with easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. The final rule

  • Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Requires chemical manufacturers and importers to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Implements a specified 16-section format for safety data sheets (SDSs).

The following dates have been established for implementation of the GHS rule.


*This date coincides with the European Union implementation date for classification of mixtures.

Additional information, including a listing of Frequently Asked Questions, can be found at


About the Author

Crista Bozogan, CPEA, REM, is a senior project manager in the Boston, U.S.A. office of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) where she specializes in environmental, health and safety management systems and compliance programs. Crista manages several large global audit programs for her clients and also serves as the lead auditor on more than 10 compliance audits per year.

Image: Blood Flowers by Thomas Boulvin, Binche, Hainaut, Belgium.


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