In 2009, OSHA began aligning their Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 1994) also known as HazCom, with the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) adopted in 2003 by the United Nations. With HCS 1994, OSHA intent was to give workers knowledge of health, physical, and environmental hazards they may encounter in the workplace. The goal of what became HCS 2012 was to standardize hazardous information to make it easier for workers to understand quickly, especially in emergency situations.
The key changes to HazCom and GHS are hazard classification; standardization of labels with signal words, pictograms, and hazard information; converting previously used Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to a new standardized format, Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Compliance with the new standard (HCS 2012/29 CFR 1910.1200) began in 2012 with a final deadline of June 2016. At that time all chemical users and producers must adhere to the new regulations.
For additional information see:
OHSA’s Hazard Communication Page
Free OSHA Training Tutorial – Understanding the GHS Labeling System
Free OSHA Training Tutorial – Understanding GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s)
GHS Training: Passing Deadlines Don’t Mean the Work is Over from Occupational Health and Safety Magazine