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Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Toolbox


Changes to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard are bringing the United States into alignment with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), further improving safety and health protections for our workers. The new standard still requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the chemicals they produce or import and provide hazard information to employers and workers by putting labels on containers and preparing safety data sheets. However, the old standard allowed chemical manufacturers and importers to convey hazard information on labels and material safety data sheets in whatever format they chose. The modified standard provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards and specifies hazard communication elements for labeling and safety data sheets.

Major Changes to the Hazard Communication Standard:

 Hazard classification: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. Hazard classification under the new, updated standard provides specific criteria to address health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures.

 Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.

 Safety Data Sheets: The new format requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information.

 Information and training: To facilitate understanding of the new system, the new standard requires that workers be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format, in addition to the current training requirements.

Phase-In Period for GHS into the Hazard Communication Standard:


Effective Completion Date


 Requirement(s)  Who
December 1, 2013

Train employees on the new label elements and SDS format.



June 1, 2015

December 1, 2015

Comply with all modified provisions of this final rule, except:

Distributors may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old system until December 1, 2015.


Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers
June 1, 2016

Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.




New! -- GHS Video

Navy GHS PowerPoint Training (Train-the-Trainer)

 Marine Corps GHS PowerPoint Training (Train-the-Trainer) 

OSHA Web Page on Hazard Communication and GHS

OSHA Fact Sheet on Hazard Communication and GHS

OSHA Fact Sheet on New GHS Training Requirements

OSHA Brief on GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

OSHA Brief on GHS Labels and Pictograms

OSHA Quick Card on GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

OSHA Quick Card on GHS Labels

OSHA Quick Card on GHS Pictograms

U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center GHS Web Page

OSHA's Guide to the GHS Purple Book (HTML)

OSHA's Guide to the GHS Purple Book (PDF)

Globally Harmonized System Of Classification And Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), 4th ed (Purple Book) 757-444-3520 ext 7820 | Last Revision: December 17, 2013