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Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS): Implementation at 3M Company.

What is GHS?

GHS is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals developed to promote a universal standard for hazard communication around the world. However, the standard is not required and participating countries are allowed to adopt only portions of it. Therefore, while GHS is a significant step toward the development of a single global standard, GHS will not lead to true global harmonization of hazard classification and hazard communication.

Is GHS relevant to North America?

Yes. In May 2012, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aligned its existing Hazard Communication Standard with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The result is the new Hazard Communication Standard 2012 (HazCom 2012). As a result of this change, OSHA will now require one standardized format for safety data sheets (SDSs) and prescribed wording and hazard symbols on labels. As with the old standard, HazCom 2012 does not apply to consumer products.

Canada is expected to align its existing hazard communication standard with GHS by early 2014, but as of yet final regulation and implementation dates have not been published. Canada does not have a specific date for the release of their new regulation as the change requires parliamentary approval. Differences between US and Canadian adoption of GHS are expected.

What is the impact on 3M Company?

As a chemical product manufacturer/importer, 3M Company will be required to evaluate the hazards of every industrial and commercial product according to HazCom 2012 and where appropriate prepare labels and safety data sheets in the new format to convey the hazard information to downstream users. 3M Company is committed to complying with the requirements of HazCom 2012 and will ensure compliance by OSHA's deadline of June 1, 2015.

As a customer, what changes can I expect to see?

This will require significant changes to all 3M Company (US) safety data sheets (previously MSDS’s) and industrial product labels. 3M Company will phase in HazCom 2012 compliant safety data sheets and labels over a period of time. During this period you can expect to see both old and new format SDSs and labels. As with the old standard, HazCom 2012 does not apply to consumer products. Therefore, consumer labels will remain unchanged.

Where can I get more information about 3M Company’s GHS implementation?

This page will provide GHS related information to our customers. We will update the page as new information regarding the GHS implementation process becomes available. At the top of the page you will find important GHS related documents available to download.

If you have further questions, please contact your local sales representative, customer service at 1-800-362-3550, or submit your inquiry online via the "contact us" button.

Other Related Information

ASC Provides Members with GHS Customer Guidance ►

ASC GHS Guidance Document ►

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