• Eric HuardYou Don’t Need to Care About the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

    GHS Label RollBold statement, right? Do I really mean that you shouldn’t care? Let’s walk through what you have to follow for the Globally Harmonized System, or GHS.

    GHS is a hazard classification system developed by the United Nations, which is not enforceable under Canadian law. What is an enforceable law is the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, which you probably know as WHMIS. Some of GHS was incorporated into WHMIS in 2015, which was then aptly renamed WHMIS 2015. So do you need to read up on GHS? Not really.

    WHMIS 2015 means that you’re going to have to do some training. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to train your workers thanks to the multitude of online courses available. This training introduces the new symbols, labeling, and safety sheets that are going to be used moving forward. Chances are you’re doing that already. Congrats!

    Another provision of WHMIS 2015 mandates that chemical suppliers must switch from the old Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS) format. This essentially reorganizes the information to list the possible health risks at the top of the sheet. As an employer, you have to ensure that you have and make available all SDS sheets for any hazardous product. If you are a manufacturer, then you need to prepare these sheets and ensure you notify your customers of any changes to the way the product is handled or stored, or there if there is a classification change to the product.

    The last change is labelling, and this is where things may get tricky for a typical employer. Hazardous products must be labelled. Most of the time, the label from the manufacturer is going to suffice. This is a supplier label and if the product will always be contained in this container, then you don’t need to do anything. Job’s done! Sweet.

    The second type of label is a workplace label. These need to be prepared under 3 conditions:

    1. You produced a hazardous product at the workplace and will be using it
    2. You are transferring/decanting/pouring a hazardous product into another container
    3. The supplier label is unreadable, lost or damaged

    However there are two situations where a workplace label isn’t necessary.

    1. The hazardous product that was transferred into another container will be used immediately
    2. The hazardous product stays under the control of the person who transferred it

    Part B here comes with a caveat. The worker must use it in the same shift and must be the only one to handle it. But a product identifier (name of the product) must be put on the container.

    TL;DR? Here’s your summary:

    P.S. TL;DR – Too long; didn’t read.

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville


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