MSDSonline Answers Frequently Asked Questions About GHS at ASSE’s National Conference

Safety 2013, one of the nations largest gatherings of safety professionals, included a presentation on OSHA's adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Attendees were updated on the latest best practices surrounding chemical labels and safety data sheets.

Chicago, IL – Over 4,000 of the top safety professionals from around the country gathered in Las Vegas during the last week of June for the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) National Conference, Safety 2013. At the conference, MSDSonline, a leading provider of online chemical management solutions, was selected to update attendees on OSHA’s recent revisions to the Hazard Communication Standard. Its session, “The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about GHS and HazCom2012” was presented by Glenn Trout, President of MSDSonline, and Chuck Haling, vice president of sales.

ASSE’s Safety 2013 is one of the largest safety conferences of its kind, and MSDSonline’s presentation was aimed at helping employers get ready for the first major HazCom 2012 deadline, now less than six months away. GHS adoption in the United States means changes to chemical classification and the formats of labels and safety data sheets, which are used to communicate hazard information to downstream users (e.g. employers and employees). Due to these changes, OSHA requires employees exposed to hazardous chemical to be trained on new label elements and safety data sheet formats by Dec. 1, 2013.

“GHS is here, and employers and chemical manufacturers are finding out as they look at this first deadline that they have some real work ahead of them,” said Glenn Trout. “We’ve been out there educating the market place on this for a number of years, hosting a free bi-weekly GHS webinar, and we know the pain points employers are feeling. We took the top questions we’ve received from our blog, webinars, and other speaking events and addressed them head on.”

Topics covered included workplace labeling or secondary container labels, employee training, MSDS authoring, how to handle older chemicals, and managing the safety data sheet churn. On that final point, employers in the United States covered by HazCom should expect their entire MSDS library to get updated in the next few years.

According to Trout, it’s a big deal. “Chemical manufacturers and distributors have until June 1, 2015 to reclassify their chemicals and update all of their safety data sheets and labels. Sadly, even with that deadline being two years out, there are a lot of companies that are already behind the curve on this process. They need to start re-authoring their MSDSs ASAP.”

Trout also added, “Employers need to have a good system in place to handle these updated documents as they come in, to ensure all hazards are accounted for and that employees have ready access to the most current information.”

MSDSonline is slated to present on GHS and HazCom 2012 at the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) national conference on July 22 and the National Safety Council’s national conference in September. Their popular GHS Webinar and GHS Answer Center are both available at

About MSDSonline
Founded in 1996 and based in Chicago, MSDSonline is a leading provider of cloud-based EH&S compliance solutions, offering products and services for managing safety data sheets, reporting workplace incidents, training employees and administering other critical EH&S information.  The company’s mission is to provide sustainable solutions that help customers improve employee safety, streamline compliance recordkeeping and reduce potential exposures to workplace hazards and risks. MSDSonline has been recognized for the last six years on Inc. magazine’s list of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies. More information is available online at and on the official company blog at MSDSonline is an ICG (Nasdaq: ICGE) company.

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