Posts Tagged ‘GHS SDS’

How to Get Ready for the MSDS for GHS

May 8th, 2012 No comments

As with all new laws and regulations, whenever GHS is adopted by a country where you ship your products, you need to get ready for the MSDS for GHS or the “SDS” as it is referred to under GHS. Here are a few basic ways to prepare yourself and your company.

As with every new regulatory development, it is worthwhile to perform a quick assessment whether you have the in-house knowledge to understand GHS and the MSDS for GHS. You should determine if you require any assistance from a vendor to acquire theoretical knowledge on GHS.

After you made the assessment, familiarize and train yourself and your employees on the basics of the MSDS for GHS, such as the new pictograms, GHS hazards and their corresponding categories, the Hazard and Precautionary statements, and the new format of the MSDS for GHS, including sections and section titles.

Now that you and your company know more about the MSDS for GHS, it is time to revise and update the classifications of your products. It is important to use the country-specific implementation of GHS, and not the generic purple book GHS, because there may be some minor differences between the two, since a country may choose not to adopt certain less severe hazard categories. Also, carefully study the transition periods in effect, to get an idea of the timeframe to be compliant with GHS.

Once your products are classified for GHS, you can re-create your MSDSs to be in line with GHS, either through software or services. Don’t forget as well to create the GHS labels for your products, using the information included on the MSDS for GHS.

Finally, since the MSDS is used to communicate information on your products to your customers, and since the MSDS for GHS is different than the current MSDS, be prepared to educate some of your customers on the new GHS statements, classifications and pictograms.

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Format and Sections of the GHS SDS

April 17th, 2012 No comments

As explained in the previous blog, one of the characteristics of the GHS SDS is the standardization of sections and section titles. Chapter 1.5.3 (part 1) of the UN’s official publication of the GHS (revision 4) specifies the SDS format. Here is a summary of the GHS SDS headings, along with some explanations:

Section 1: Identification of the substance or mixture and of the supplier. Includes GHS product identifier, recommended use and restrictions on use, supplier’s details, and emergency phone number.

Section 2: Hazards identification. Includes GHS classification, GHS label elements, and other hazards not resulting in classification or not covered by GHS.

Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients. Includes information on chemical ingredients, such as chemical identity and concentrations.

Section 4: First aid measures. Includes description of necessary measures, most important symptoms/effects, and indication of immediate medical attention and special treatment needed.

Section 5: Firefighting measures. Includes suitable extinguishing techniques, specific hazards from fire, and special protective equipment and precautions for firefighters.

Section 6: Accidental release measures. Includes precautions, protective equipment, emergency procedures, environmental precautions, and methods for containment and cleanup.

Section 7: Handling and storage. Includes precautions for safe handling, and conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities.

Section 8: Exposure controls/personal protection. Includes occupational exposure limits or biological exposure limits, appropriate engineering controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9: Physical and chemical properties. Includes the chemical’s characteristics (appearance, odor, pH, flash point, vapor pressure, etc.).

Section 10: Stability and reactivity. Includes reactivity, chemical stability, possible hazardous reactions, conditions to avoid, incompatible materials, and hazardous decomposition products.

Section 11: Toxicological information. Includes routes of exposure, related symptoms, acute and chronic effects, and numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12: Ecological information. Includes ecotoxicity, persistence and degradability, bioaccumulative potential, mobility in soil, and other adverse effects.

Section 13: Disposal considerations. Includes description of waste residues, and information on their safe handling and methods of disposal.

Section 14: Transport information. Includes UN number, UN proper shipping name, transport hazard classes, packing group, environmental hazards, transport in bulk, and special precautions.

Section 15: Regulatory information. Includes safety, health and environmental regulations specific for the product in question.

Section 16: Other information. Includes information on the preparation and revision of the SDS.

More information on the GHS SDS format and sections is available on the UN GHS site, or from local authorities of countries that adopted GHS. It is important to note that each country that has adopted GHS could have specific SDS guidelines that must also be followed (e.g. REACH requirements in the EU, ACGIH Threshold Limit Values and OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits in the U.S.).

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Differences Between a GHS MSDS and a Current MSDS

April 10th, 2012 No comments

As more countries adopt and implement GHS, companies will re-author many of their MSDSs. If you rely on MSDSs for safety and product information, you should be aware of the changes brought by GHS.

There are many differences between a GHS MSDS and a current MSDS that you are used to. The most visible difference is the new set of pictograms. The pictograms on the GHS MSDS are different than the ones on U.S. MSDSs or EU SDSs. The GHS MSDS also has its own Hazard and Precautionary statements, commonly referred to as H&P phrases, although they borrowed heavily from the EU Risk and Safety phrases.

Another interesting characteristic about the GHS MSDS is the standardization of sections and section titles, which will make things easier. Sections and section titles are not the only things being standardized. GHS has standard definitions for hazards, including physical, health and environmental hazards, as well as standard categories for each hazard. It is worth noting that countries implementing GHS can choose which categories to adopt for the various GHS hazards. This creates a situation where, while the definitions of hazards and categories are the same, GHS implementation can vary by country. For example, for a given hazard, one country may implement all 4 categories, while another country may implement only 3 and not implement the least severe category. The result is that a GHS MSDS of one country can be slightly different than the GHS MSDS of another country.

Finally, the change that is the easiest to remember is regarding the name of the GHS MSDS itself. GHS drops the “M” from “MSDS” and simply refers to the document as the “SDS”. This was already the case in the EU where “SDS” was used. But don’t expect “MSDS” to disappear soon. Since old habits die hard, “MSDS” may still be widely used in the U.S. for some time, but expect within the next 5 years to see “MSDS” phased out in favor of “SDS” from everyday conversation.

All these changes highlight the importance of training your employees, and potentially your customers, on understanding the GHS MSDS, especially the new pictograms and H&P phrases.

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