Looking to enhance your machine safety and risk assessment knowledge? Join our live, online training class!
Reducing Risk, Protecting People

Understanding OSHA/GHS


Changes to Hazardous Chemical Communications

To better protect workers from hazardous chemicals, OSHA has adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The hazardous chemicals that come into your facility will, as of December 1, 2015, all have labels that conform to the worldwide GHS standard. Prior to that date, many chemical manufacturers are adopting the standard labeling. As an employer, you were to have trained all of your workers on the meaning of the symbols by December 1, 2013 (a date that has now passed, so if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get this accomplished!).

What does Clarion Safety have to offer your facility? View the full scope of our solutions and services for workplace safety.


Collateral Download: Workplace Safety Products/Services Information Sheet


The new labels on hazardous chemicals and substances incorporate very specific graphical symbols, each meant to convey one or more hazards related to chemicals. They also include mandatory statements that have been individually assigned to each type of hazard that describes the hazard and appropriate precautionary avoidance statements. Because OSHA has formally written the GHS principles into their hazard communication standards – with the “right to know” laws – compliance is mandatory. The new legislation is expected to better protect workers from harm because, as OSHA has stated, we are giving employees more than just the “right to know,” we are giving them the “right to understand.” And, we agree! The new labeling, and accompanying safety data sheets (SDS), more clearly communicate for several reasons, not the least of which is their use of visually eye-catching graphical symbols. Your job, as an employer, is to train your workers on the meaning of the GHS symbols and to make the location of your SDS known.

GHS and Global Communication
In our view, the most important aspect of OSHA adopting the GHS regulations into our nation’s workplace safety laws for hazardous chemical communication is that it reinforces everything Clarion Safety has instilled into the safety signs and safety labels we sell for all potential hazards. These features include:

  • Standardized formatting with intelligently chosen signal words based on risk assessment
  • The use of standardized graphical symbols to bring noticeability to safety signs and labels and to communicate a portion of the message across language barriers
  • The use of color to draw attention to a safety sign or safety label (the GHS symbols have a red diamond surround shape)
  • Conveying both hazard description and hazard avoidance information (also known as “hazard statements” and “precautionary statements” according to GHS)

OSHA’s Completion Dates for Compliance

  • December 1, 2013: Employers must train employees on the new label elements and SDS format.
  • June 1, 2015: Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers must comply with all modified provisions of this final rule.
  • December 1, 2015: Distributors shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a GHS label.
  • June 1, 2016: Employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

Final rule revising the HazCom standard
OSHA’s HazCom Safety and Health topic page

How Can Clarion Safety Help with GHS?
We’ve developed an information sign and binder for your use to identify the location of your GHS-related materials. The sign also functions as an educational tool to train your workers on the GHS pictograms and labels.

Effective Symbols, Safety Signs and Labels

Online Quote Request Options

Need a quote for our sign, label and tag products? Our customer service team is standing by to hear from you via phone, online chat or email! For your convenience, we also have two options you can use to submit your request quickly and easily online:

Option 1: Cart-to-quote Tool

Generate a quote for all of the items in your shopping cart. Simply add items to your online shopping cart and then click the "Get Quote for Cart Items" button in the cart preview dropdown or at the bottom of the cart page.

This option works great for both standard and custom products that are available for purchase on our website.

Option 2: Quote Request Form

Request a quote by typing in the product part number(s) or a description of the custom part(s). You can also upload RFQ-related documentation, such as a drawings and specification sheets.

This option works great for products not available for purchase on our website and for complex quotes.