GHS (the Globally Harmonized System) is the law and is being implemented over a period of several years. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is implementing this program with clear deadlines for various targets to be achieved. Some of the standards are already in place such as requiring all staff to be trained in the new SDS (Safety Data Sheets) format (effective December 1, 2013). 


This can be a little disconcerting since new product labels are not mandatory at this time. Vendors and chemical manufacturers are required to provide the new labeling systems by June 1, 2015 and will not be allowed to use the old MSDS format at all after December 1, 2015. By June 1, 2016, all labeling must be in compliance with employees having a full understanding of the signal words and icons identifying the hazards and potential exposure.


The SDS information is standardized to allow maximum understanding by persons regardless of language barriers which had been a challenge in the past. These include chemical identification, safety responses, handling and storage as well as dangers related to chemical handling and any toxic effects. The key to understanding the system are the signal words and icons/pictures for either warning or danger. The pictures are in a white diamond, outlined in red with black lettering so it will stand out. Topics covered include explosives, flammability, oxidization, compressed gases, corrosives, toxicity, irritants, health and environmental damage. These universal symbols will allow for a safer environment for workers and tenants alike.


For more information, go to and look for GHS or Globally Harmonized System. 


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or