Steps to Prepare Your Lab for the Globally Harmonized System June 1 Implementation Deadline

Chem Industry News

Is your laboratory ready to implement the Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling?
Under the new Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling, all chemical labels will have to be updated.
Image Source: CAMIOKC via Wikimedia Commons.

There is an old saying that “time flies when you are having fun.” However, I contend that time tends to fly regardless of the level of fun you are having. Take this year, for example. January is now complete, the Super Bowl is over and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. It is amazing how fast the days seem to be passing.

The speed that time travels is something that laboratories should keep in mind, especially as the June 1, 2015, deadline for implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling draws near. We are less than four months away from the deadline and there is likely still a lot of work to be completed in laboratories across the country.

To help you stay on track for the deadline, below is a list of tasks that should be addressed within the next few months:

  • Retraining – Last December, employers were required to provide the first level of training for employees on the new labels and safety data sheets. However, studies have shown that the human mind can only hold a limited amount of information at a time before people begin to forget things. To ensure that employees fully understand the changes to labels and safety data sheets, it would be helpful to offer a few opportunities for retraining. In addition, it might be helpful to quiz or test the employee’s knowledge regarding the new pictograms, health phrases and categories to ensure that the information is sticking.
  • Obtain Updated Safety Data Sheets – I have always liked the saying, “Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who run ahead.” True, chemical manufacturers do not need to supply updated labels or safety data sheets until the June 1 deadline, however they may have already gotten started. It doesn’t hurt to be proactive about contacting chemical manufacturers and requesting updated forms. If received, it is also a good idea to start circulating the sheets amongst employees to reinforce the idea that the process is changing.
  • Update Hazard Communication – As the safety data sheets begin to change, another good idea is to review the incoming sheets to determine whether hazard communications should also change. There is a possibility that during this transition, safety data sheets may contain new hazard warnings. When this occurs, it is important to evaluate the current policies to ensure safety plans will still be accurate once the changeover has taken place.

Regardless of your laboratory’s level of preparation, one other task that you might want to consider is the implementation of a chemical management system. The benefits of a chemical management system include the ability to receive updated safety data sheets from the vendor electronically, and then digitally distribute the information to employees. This can reduce the time and headache associated with requesting the sheets from the vendor and reviewing them for changes.

Every day, we get a little bit closer to the June 1 deadline for compliance. Will your laboratory be ready in time? For more information regarding BIOVIA CISPro and how it can help your laboratory comply with the Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling regulations, please visit our website today.

2 thoughts on “Steps to Prepare Your Lab for the Globally Harmonized System June 1 Implementation Deadline

  1. I agree that it would be helpful to quiz the employees on the new procedures. It might also be helpful (for certain kinds of learners) to do some simulated tasks to practice, like filling out a certain number of practice data sheets.

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