GHS Timeline

A Generational History of GHS

1983

  • OSHA issues Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) covering the manufacturing industry.

  • First HCS preamble recommends an internationally harmonized system

1983
1987-1989

1987-1989

  • HCS is expanded to include all industries where employees are potentially exposed to hazard chemicals.

1990

  • OSHA issues Request for Information (RFI) on international harmonization efforts and the work being done by International Labor Organization (ILO) on chemical safety at work.

  • OSHA issues RFI on HCS, including the idea of standard SDS format. Majority of respondents support standardized SDSs and labels.

1990
1992-1998

1992-1998

  • United Nations holds U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and issues mandate (supported by U.S.) calling for the development of a globally harmonized chemical classification and labeling system. The mandate reads: “A globally harmonized hazard classification and compatible labeling system, including material safety data sheets and easily understandable symbols, should be available, if feasible, by the year 2000.”

  • Multinational coordinating group is established, called the Inter-Organization Program for the Sound Management of Chemicals Coordinating Group for the Harmonization of Chemical Classification Systems. OSHA serves as chair of this group. Work is divided into three parts: 1. Classification criteria for physical hazards. 2. Classification criteria for health and environmental hazards. 3. Hazard communication elements (including SDSs and labels).

  • Four major existing programs serve as basis for GHS: 1. U.S. requirements for the workplace, consumers and pesticides. 2. Canadian requirements for workplace, consumers and pesticides. 3. European Union directives for classification and labeling of substances and preparations. 4. United Nations recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods

  • Key guiding principles of the harmonization work are as follows: 1. Protections of the existing systems would not be reduced as a result of GHS. 2. Will be based on intrinsic properties (hazards) of chemicals. 3. All types of chemicals will be covered. 4. All systems will have to be changed. 5. Involvement of all stakeholders should be ensured. 6. Comprehensibility must be addressed

  • OSHA, DOT, CPSC and EPA form Interagency Working Group on Harmonization to work in concert with the State Department to represent the United States interest in the GHS process.

1999

  • United Nations renames the UNCEDTG to the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (UNCETDG/GHS).

  • Two subcommittees are created for UNCETDG/GHS; one on transport, and one called the Sub-Committee on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification (UNSCEGHS).

  • The UNSCEGHS is responsible for maintaining the GHS and promoting its implementation.

1999
2002

2002

  • During the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), countries are encouraged to adopt GHS by 2008.

  • GHS formally adopted by the UNCETDG/GHS.

2003

  • GHS adoption is endorsed by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

  • First edition of the GHS is published.

2003
2005

2005

  • OSHA adds the adoption of GHS and the modification of the HCS to its regulatory agenda.

  • First revised edition of GHS is published

2006

  • OSHA publishes Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on GHS.

2006
2007

2007

  • Second revised edition of GHS is published.

  • DOT adopts many aspects of GHS that deal with transportation.

2009

  • Third revised edition of GHS is published.

  • OSHA proposes modifications to the HCS to conform to GHS.

2009
2010

2010

  • U.S. hosts public hearings on GHS and OSHA’s proposed rule making.

  • GHS implemented or in various stages of implementation in 67 countries.

2011

  • OSHA delivers final rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

2011
2012

2012

  • Research Solutions began working on developing ChemScribe® to assist companies with becoming GHS compliant for SDS’s and container labels.

  • OMB passes final rule on GHS in February with the designation: “Consistent with Change.”

  • OSHA announces final rule. Dr. Michaels calls it HazCom 2012 and says it gives workers the “Right to Understand.”

  • Revised HazCom published in Federal Register.

2013

  • December 1 – Employers must complete training of employees on how to read GHS formatted safety data sheets and labels.

2013
2014

2014

  • Focus Systems™ is established.

  • The first copy of ChemScribe® is deployed.

2015

  • June 1 – Manufacturers and Distributors must comply with revised HCS. This includes reclassifying chemicals and producing GHS formatted labels and SDSs. Distributors get an additional 6 months to distribute old inventory already labeled.

  • December 1 – Distributors must fully comply with revised HCS. (Grace period ends.)

  • Focus Systems™ has sold ChemScribe® to clients all across the United States, from small distributors to major producers.

2015
2016

2016

  • June 1 – Employers must fully comply with revised HCS and complete training of employees on newly identified hazards and/or any updates to workplace hazard program.

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