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What is GHS?

GHS refers to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. It is an international approach to hazard communication, providing agreed criteria for classification of chemical hazards, and a standardized approach to label elements and safety data sheets.

The GHS will establish new rules for hazardous chemicals in transportation, workplace use and consumer use, as well as special rules for pesticides. GHS also includes new Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), or Safety Data Sheet (SDS), requirements and new hazard symbols. It comprises standards for:

Classifying chemicals
Symbols for hazards
Labeling requirements
Safety Data Sheet requirements

Who is affected by GHS? Who has to comply with GHS?

GHS affects any company who has chemicals in the workplace. All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

What are the major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard?

Hazard Classification–The definitions of hazard have been changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. These specific criteria will help to ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent across manufacturers, and that labels and safety data sheets are more accurate as a result.

Labels – Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)–Now have a specified 16-section format.

Clarification of the June 1and December 1, 2015 dates: Ellsworth Adhesives must be in compliance to all major changes to the hazard communication standard by June 1, 2015. Ellsworth Adhesives is allowed to continue to ship containers that are not GHS label compliant until December 1, 2015.
* If the distributors meet the definition of manufacturers, which includes repackaging and relabeling the chemicals, they must comply by June 1, 2015.

When will Ellsworth Adhesives provide GHS compliant SDS documentation?

Ellsworth Adhesives is working with their suppliers to ensure they have the most current SDS on file and available to customers by June 1, 2015. SDS documentation can be found using the SDS/TDS Finder on the Ellsworth Adhesives

When will Ellsworth Adhesives provide product with GHS compliant labeling?

Ellsworth Adhesives is working with their suppliers to insure that products are properly labeled after the chemical manufacturer’s deadline of June 1, 2015. However, as a distributor, Ellsworth Adhesives has until December 1, 2015 to provide product with GHS compliant labeling. OSHA provided guidance on the June 1, 2015 effective date in Compliance Directive CPL 02-02-079, effective July 9, 2015. The HCS 2012 permits distributors to continue to ship chemicals with HCS 1994 labels until December 1, 2015. There may be distributors that are consequently unable to comply with the December 1, 2015 effective date where a manufacturer or importer cannot comply with the June 1, 2015 effective date despite its reasonably diligent and good faith efforts. This directive explained that enforcement discretion would allow for limited continued use of HCS 1994-compliant MSDSs and labels provided that the manufacturer or importer exercised reasonable diligence and made good faith efforts to comply with HCS 2012 prior to June 1, 2015.

Will I receive a SDS with non-GHS compliant labeled product?

Yes. You may receive a SDS with product that does not yet have the GHS compliant labeling through December 1, 2015.

Is Ellsworth Adhesives able to provide GHS compliant labels for products that I purchased prior to the June 1, 2015 deadline?

No. OSHA recognizes that hazard communication programs will go through a period of time where labels and SDSs under both standards will be present in the workplace. This will be considered acceptable, and employers are not required to maintain two sets of labels and SDSs for compliance purposes. For rare exceptions during the phase-in period, Ellsworth Adhesives will work with their suppliers to obtain GHS compliant labels for products purchased from Ellsworth Adhesives that are still within expiration.

Will Ellsworth Adhesives allow me to return product that is not GHS compliant?

Ellsworth Adhesives is not expecting customers to return product due to this change since OSHA recognizes that hazard communication programs will go through a period of time where labels and SDSs under both standards will be present in the workplace.

I require products coming from Ellsworth Adhesives to have additional HMIS labeling. Will Ellsworth Adhesives still provide this additional labeling?

After June 1, 2015, Ellsworth Adhesives will no longer provide HMIS labeling on products purchased from Ellsworth Adhesives since this information is no longer required on Safety Data Sheets or GHS compliant labels.

Can Ellsworth Adhesives provide SDS documentation in bulk for all products that I purchased from Ellsworth Adhesives?

Ellsworth Adhesives is able to provide SDS documentation, when available from the manufacturer, for products that you purchased in the past 6 months. Please request through your Customer Service Representative or Account Specialist. Ellsworth Adhesives will continue to work with suppliers to ensure updated SDS documentation is provided with product.

Will any products be discontinued due to these changes?

Ellsworth Adhesives is working with suppliers to determine whether any products or product sizes are being discontinued due to this change. Any product notifications received from suppliers pertaining to these types of changes will be sent to customers that have purchased the product within the past 12 months.

Where can I find more information?

More information on the hazard communication standard can be found on OSHA’s GHS page at: feel free to contact your Ellsworth Adhesives Customer Service Representative at 800-888-0698 or