The US’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) just published its long awaited final hazard communication (“hazcom”) standard that’s compliant with the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS), which is designed to coordinate workplace chemical safety regulations across the world. The new standard is more than 800 pages long but there’s a fact sheet that gives an overview.
Why are we telling you about a new US standard for hazardous substances?
First, the US hazcom standard is the equivalent of Canada’s WHMIS.
Second, Canada has also been working on how to update WHMIS to comply with the GHS. Not much has happened in Canada on this front. The consensus is that Canadian authorities (lead by Health Canada with assistance from Environment Canada and Transport Canada) were waiting to see what the US did and then use the new US standard as a jumping off point for changing WHMIS.
So now that the US GHS standard is out, we might start to see more movement in Canada in this area. The OHS Insider will certainly keep you posted on any developments in Canada on GHS.
In the meantime, here are some resources on GHS you should review now to get a sense of how GHS will impact your workplace and what steps you can take now to ease the transition to GHS once it happens: