Hazards Communication: Safety Topics - December 2019 - Week 3


Do you know why hazard communications is commonly referred to as “GHS”?   OSHA revised their Hazard Communication Standard to align with the international “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals”, commonly referred to as “GHS”. Because of this, manufactures and distributers of hazardous chemicals changed the way they categorized the hazards of their products. Additionally, they changed the container labels and Safety Data Sheets relating to these hazardous chemicals.

This week we will discuss the OSHA requirements of GHS labeling, what information is required on Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and provide a breakdown of what each GHS pictogram stands for. 

Monday - GHS Label Requirements

Hazardous chemical labels must disclose specific information about the substance they hold. In order to meet GHS label requirements, manufactures and distributors must standardize their container labels to display the following information:

  • The Product Identifier identifies the product name or number that can be cross-referenced by the corresponding Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
  • Signal Words are used to indicate a certain level of severity of the hazard ranging from a warning to an immediate danger. 
  • Hazard Statements are statements that are assigned to hazard classes and categories that describe the hazards associated with the chemical.
  • Precautionary Statements list what can be done to minimize or prevent negative effects that result from chemical exposure or improper handling and storage.
  • Pictograms are icons that appear in a small red box that helps identify the type of hazards related to the product. There are 8 different pictograms.
  • Name, Address, and Telephone number of the manufacturer, importer, or other responsible parties.

Tuesday - Safety Data Sheets Requirements

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are made up of 16 different sections to help catalog different products. These sections always appear in the same order for every product. Here are these sections:

  • Section 1: Identification
  • Section 2: Hazards Identification 
  • Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients
  • Section 4: First-Aid Measures
  • Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures
  • Section 6: Accidental Release Measures
  • Section 7: Handling and Storage
  • Section 8: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
  • Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Section 10: Stability and Reactivity
  • Section 11: Toxicological Information
  • Section 12: Ecological Information
  • Section 13: Disposal Considerations
  • Section 14: Transport Information
  • Section 15: Regulatory Information
  • Section 16: Other Information

Wednesday -  Flame & Flame Over Circle Pictogram

If a label has a flame pictogram, it could indicate 1 of 2 possible hazards: Fire or Oxidizer. If a flame is present on a pictogram, always refer to the hazard statements on the label to gain more information about the hazard level. Remember to pay attention to the precautionary statements. These list the recommended measures that can minimize or potentially prevent fires and explosions resulting from improper storage, use, or handling. 

A pictogram of just a flame indicates a fire hazard. However, a flame over a circle is specific to solids, liquids, and gasses that are classified as “Oxidizers.”

Thursday - Health Hazard, Exclamation Mark, Gas Cylinder, and Corrosion Pictogram 

The health hazard pictogram identifies chemicals and products that have the potential to cause chronic or acute health problems.  The potential health hazards indicated by these pictograms are carcinogens, mutagens, respiratory sensitizers, target organ toxicity, and aspiration toxicity. 

The exclamation mark pictogram contains a hazardous material that is on the lower end of the hazards scale. This can include ozone hazards, acute toxicity, and irritants to the skin, eyes, or respiratory tract.

The gas cylinder pictogram represents a product that has the potential to explode. This is caused by gas expanding as temperatures rise.

The corrosion pictogram represents chemicals that can have a corrosive effect on skin and membranes within the body.

Friday -  Explding Bomb and Skull & Crossbones

The Exploding bomb pictogram represents explosive substances. This can include solid or liquid mixtures that are capable of violent chemical reactions. These can produce a gas at high temperatures and pressure at rapid speed that can cause damage to their surroundings.  

The skull and crossbones pictogram represents acute and potentially fatal toxicity. This pictogram indicates that if the product is inhaled, swallowed, or comes in contact with skin, the outcome could be fatal.

Remember to practice extreme caution while working with any potentially hazardous chemical. Don’t forget to always wear your personal protective equipment to help keep you safe!


Tags: safety topics , injury prevention , osha compliance ,

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