GHS Training Impact on Employers in Ontario


The alignment of the Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (GHS) will soon go into effect. Health Canada has issued a request for written comments from all interested parties on the proposed draft regulations. Click here to review.

Comments are to be submitted no later than September 15, 2013 to: Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate, Health Canada, 427 Laurier Avenue West, 7th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0K9

What is the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)? 

  • GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
  • GHS is a system that defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products  GHS will communicate health and safety information on labels and material safety data sheets (called Safety Data Sheets, or SDS, in GHS) 
  • A standardization of classifying hazards into Physical and Health Hazard classes

How will the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) affect you? 

  • The basic framework of the Hazard Communication Standard will remain the same, however the changes that will affect you the most are new chemical classifications, new safety data sheets (SDS) and new labels 
  • Labels will have the same format and content but will include signal words and changes to some symbols 
  • Standardized 16 section safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world
  • There will be a transition period to fully implement GHS so employers must be aware of compliance dates to ensure the hazard communication program remains in compliance with the old Hazard Communication Standard and the GHS system

How can Employers prepare now? 

  • Obtain the GHS Criteria to learn and understand the expected changes to WHMIS after GHS implementation and how these changes impact workers and suppliers
  • Start to prepare and develop education and training programs so your employees know how to read safety data sheets and labels in the GHS system
  • Start to transition current 9 section MSDS into the 16 section format of the SDS 
  • Continue to provide current WHMIS classification and labels