AIHce: Industry Ready to Transition to GHS

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) was a hot topic at the 2007 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce) in Philadelphia.

In an effort to educate and take the pulse of key industry leaders, Smyrna, Tenn.-based SiteHawk – a provider of Web-based material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and chemical information management software and related support services – hosted a user forum to discuss the upcoming regulatory changes.

The general consensus was, due to the overwhelming benefits of a harmonized system, industry is ready to move forward with the transition as soon as possible.

GHS Presents an Opportunity for a Consistent Message

The international corporations represented were especially eager to capitalize on the benefit of presenting consistent and clear messages for all facilities, regardless of geographic location.

At the dinner and user discussion, SiteHawk presented a short overview of the GHS system as well as its plans for integration into its vendor MSDS management and authoring systems. Most attendees indicated that they would be interested in changing to GHS immediately after OSHA completes the final rulemaking – expected in 2008 – while others indicated an interest in moving forward even before the final rules are in place.

“The GHS is a great way for EHS professionals to present a consistent message to their employees,” SiteHawk co-founder and President Kim Stier said. “We do not anticipate vendors will be updating their MSDSs immediately, however. At SiteHawk, we have created a means that allows our customers to move forward with the GHS as their timeline permits, instead of being forced to wait for vendors to update documents.”

SiteHawk already has implemented tools in its software to support such a transition, by supplying the means to classify and track existing rules and ratings for HMIS, NFPA and EU as well as new GHS classifications.

Carma Roetcisoender is the corporate communications manager for Smyrna, Tenn.-based SiteHawk. Views expressed in this article do not necessarily represents those of OccupationalHazards.com.

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