What are the new GHS standards for OSHA’s 2012 Hazard Communication Standard?

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

GHS Infographic

(GHS) is an internationally agreed-upon system, created by the United Nations. It is designed to use consistent criteria for classification and labeling globally. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the GHS includes criteria for the classification of health, physical and environmental hazards, and specifies what information should be included on labels of hazardous chemicals and safety data sheets (SDS). The United States actively participated in the development of the GHS, and is a member of the UN body established to maintain and coordinate implementation of the system.

Why Does GHS Exist?

  • Simplify international trade
  • Reduce worker confusion caused by different standards
  • Reduce costs incurred by government agencies and companies conforming to multiple standards
  • Provide a structure for countries without chemical safety systems
  • Avoid worker injury and fatalities caused by confusing standards

Over 5 million workplaces in the USA employ more than 43 million workers that will be affected by the new GHS changes. OSHA is predicting that these changes will result in increased workplace safety and decreased injuries and fatalities that occur from exposures to hazardous chemicals. Further, these changes will save companies and government agencies money as standards are simplified and made universal. The savings in the long run will far outweigh the costs up front coming from changing labels and re-training employees.

What Has Changed?

The three major areas of change are:

  • Hazard Classification
  • Labels
  • Safety Data Sheets

GHS Label Sample



When Do These Changes Take Effect?

The first standard of OSHA’s Hazcom was to be completed by December 1, 2013. Employers were required to have trained employees on the new Hazcom label elements and SDS format.

For the next step in the process, manufacturers have until June 1, 2015. Manufacturers and distributors are to reclassify chemicals and update labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). After Dec. 1, 2015, Distributors can no longer ship chemicals labeled under old Hazcom Standards. The label is to include a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each product.

Where We Can Help!


EPI Labelers can help with a variety of options when it comes to labeling equipment. EPI Labelers are built to stand up in the toughest of environments and our engineered simplicity makes them easy to use and maintain.

Our labelers can apply your pre-printed GHS labels or we have print and apply systems that can add variable information to your label and then apply it to any or your ridged or flexible containers. We can also use our print and apply systems to add variable data to Pre-Printed Color Labels and labels printed with the fixed graphics, such as the pictograms or logos.

EPI is here to help your company compile with the new GHS required labeling changes.


Labelers that can take on the GHS Label Change