The University of Iowa

New One-Time Training Requirement for All Chemical Users

OSHA revised its chemical standards by adopting the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (called GHS) for the Classification and Communication of Chemical Hazards.

All employees who handle chemicals are required to receive training on the new labeling and safety information by December 1, 2013, so they are aware of the changes as they begin seeing the new labels on chemical containers entering laboratories and workplaces. By December 2015, chemical producers are required to have converted to using the new information system on labels and in safety data sheets; however, some manufacturers have already begun to implement these changes.

The training requirement can be fulfilled by taking a new ICON course titled “GHS Labels and SDSs” (W503OS). (Safety data sheet, or SDS, is the new term for material safety data sheet or SDS.)  The course can be accessed through the HR Self-Service site. Select “My Training” under Learning and Development, click on “Available Online Icon Courses,” and then select the course noted above.

It is a short course that explains the 16-section format for safety data sheets and the pictograms, signal words, and statements about hazards and precautions that will be on chemical container labels. Though this type of information has been on labels and SDSs for quite some time, inconsistencies in how the information was presented made it challenging for chemical users to understand. The GHS system should enhance comprehension of the hazards and provide quicker and more efficient access to information.

The revised standard does not change other requirements in the Chemical Hygiene Plan or Hazard Communication Program, the EHS Assist inventory, etc. The only new requirement is that all employees who handle chemicals must be trained one time on the new labeling format and safety data sheets.

This information is also being distributed by EHS staff during department reviews and audits. Feel free to post the flyer in your workplace.  If you have questions, please direct them to Rick Byrum at 335-9379.