United Nations GHS.

United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) have harmonized hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets.  The classification of chemicals is based on their hazards.


Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s national hazard communication standard.  The key components are cautionary labeling of containers of “controlled products”, use of safety data sheets and worker education and training program.  WHMIS incorporated most of the elements of GHS, though there are some differences.


Classification, Labeling and Packaging (CLP) of substances and mixtures is an EC regulation which has incorporated UN GHS elements.  There are some differences between UN GHS and CLP.

Control Banding.

Control Banding: involves determination of the broad hazard group to which a chemical belongs by taking into account physical, chemical, and toxicological characteristics and then determining the necessary level of control, or Control Band.  Control Banding is required in Europe.

Strategic Alignment

Compliance is required to be managed from the source of supply to the point of sale. Failure to do so can result in increased costs. Is chemical compliance part of your strategic plan?


Most companies spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars each year generating chemical list, collecting MSDS/SDS data, paying for services to store and make the data available in an attempt to comply with the compliance requirements. However most will freely admit that they never truly attain the goal of ensuring their employees truly understand the information or risk associated with every chemical they are exposed to.
Most compliance agencies boast that “implementing GHS will enhance worker comprehension, resulting in appropriate handling and use of chemicals”. Though this may sound good from a boardroom it will not happen until we are committed to changing behavior that this goal can be met.  


The Employee "Right-to-Understand"

Obligation to Communicate.

1983 U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration promulgated the Hazard Communication Standard which gave the workers the ‘right-to-know,' about the hazards associated with the chemicals they work with.
In 2012 OSHA adopted the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) as a component of the existing Hazard Communication Standard. This event now places the focus on a workers ‘right-to-understand.'
The OSHA rule places a significant compliance burden on both chemical manufacturers (suppliers) and the companies who purchase and require their employees to use those chemicals in their workplace.

Manufacturers and Suppliers

To insure that employees who use chemicals everyday are able to work safely, OSHA has required that the following components of GHS are incorporated by all chemical manufacturers and suppliers by 2015:

  • Re-write each of the current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) into a new 16 section UN Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format.
  • Classify each hazardous chemical in accordance with the criteria established within the GHS guidelines.
  • Utilize one of two signal words, Danger and Warning where applicable.
  • Incorporate the use of GHS approved Hazard and Precautionary Statements to denote the hazards associated with a chemical or substance.
  • Pictograms that denote the main hazard of a chemical or substance.



Employers face the challenge of communicating complex chemical information to their employees in a manner that insures that they comprehend.

Paragraph (h) of the HCS addresses employee information and training:
“First employers should provide employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work areas at the time of their initial assignment, and whenever a new physical or health hazard that employees have not been previously trained about is introduced into their work area.  Information and training may be designed to cover categories of hazards (such as flammability or carcinogenicity) or specific chemicals.”

The problem

  • MSDS/SDS, are written by highly technical professionals and very confusing to the employees who need to understand the information
  • Most SDS will increase by over 100% in length
  • Each pictogram can represent multiple hazards and thus are very confusing to employees
  • Many hazards are not addressed by GHS
  • A significant number of employees comprehend at a low enough level that makes it all but impossible for employers to insure that they can work safely with hazardous chemicals
  • Most workplaces have 100’s of chemicals that employees are exposed to every day
  • Removing employees from service to attend training is cost prohibitive for many companies
  • The majority of safety professionals freely admit that their employees never read an MSDS so how will we ensure worker
ChemRTU can simplify and communicate the technical information associated with every hazardous chemical in your workplace by summarizing and presenting the information in a manner that is easily understood. Employees can be informed of the long and short term hazards, target organs that could be affected, routes of exposure into the body, the protective measures and much more.




We help you navigate the maze of complexity and deliver sensible solutions to support compliance.


ChemRTU can make the right-to-understand a reality for your company by simplifying technical information for every chemical in your workplace in a manner that every employee can understand regardless of their comprehension skills.



U.S. Hazard Communication Standard.

U. S. Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is based on a single concept – that employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of chemicals that they are exposed to when working.  OSHA recently adopted the GHS including hazard communication elements of labels and safety data sheets.  There are some differences between the U.N. GHS and U.S. HCS.


Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council that requires companies manufacturing/ importing chemicals one ton or more per year to register with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA).


Chemical Safety Assessment (CSA) is the process that identifies and describes the conditions under which the manufacturing and use of a substance is considered to be safe.  There are 3 major steps in the CSA process:  Hazard Assessment, Exposure Assessment, and Risk Characterization.  CSA is mandated in Europe.


OSHA states in the hazard communication standard that “For any safety and health program, success depends on commitment at every level of the organization. They go on to say “This is particularly true for hazard communication, where success requires a change in behavior”.
With the introduction of GHS, the focus of OSHA and other safety compliance agencies will shift from the employee right-to-know (simply making MSDS available to employees) to the employees right-to-understand. In other words, simply providing MSDS/SDS will no longer be acceptable practice, employers will be required to demonstrate that their employees actually understand the risk they may be exposed to and this shift will have a resounding effect on every workplace.