Hazard Communication/Globally Harmonized System

Hazard Communication Program

The purpose of the Hazard Communication Program is to ensure all University employees are informed about the identity and hazards of the chemicals in their workplace and how to handle these chemicals safely. This program applies to staff working with chemicals in any area, except laboratories. Laboratory workers should refer to the Laboratory & Research Safety Program. This program also complies with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard.

Each department is responsible for developing its own Hazard Communication Program administered by the Departmental Safety Manager. The program includes provisions for assuring chemicals are properly labeled as to their constituents and hazards, obtaining and making available safety data sheets (SDSs) for all hazardous materials, developing a written Hazard Communication Program, and assuring all employees have received appropriate training.  General training is conducted by EHS, while hand-on training is performed by the employee’s supervisor.

Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

In 2012, OSHA modified the Hazard Communication standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), which was established by the United Nations in 2003. The purpose of the update was to provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and SDSs.  This update requires manufacturers to now use a standardized format to display hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.  The most notable display of these changes has been the adoption of the use of pictograms to describe potential health and physical hazards on labels and in SDSs.