Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 75


As wholesalers, retailers, and distributors are aware,
we are now in a global economy. The United States
is engaged in trade efforts with many countries each
year, and much of this global distribution involves
chemicals of all types and classifications. According
to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the global chemical business is valued at
about $2 trillion annually.
Because these chemicals are used for all
types of purposes, they impact the lives of
billions of people around the globe. Most
chemicals are designed to prove helpful
and to address a specific need, but used
improperly - often because the user does
not understand instructions and safety
precautions - they can be very hazardous.
This is why organizations around the
world, working with the United Nations
and OSHA, have created a system that
helps standardize communication on
chemical products to help prevent these
injuries. The program, known as the
Globally Harmonized System (GHS), has
been implemented in stages over the past
three years. But the full thrust of GHS is
to happen in 2016, so a refresher course
might be in order for wholesalers, distributors and others.
In the United States, its implementation is under the direction of OSHA and
the GHS changes are now part of OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard
(HCS). The essence of the HCS and the
changes that have been and are being
made include the following:
 Instituting a global approach to
hazard communications so that
hazards and warnings noted on a
chemical's label will be clearly understood, whether the worker is
in Chicago or Beijing;
 Creating an internationally
agreed-upon criteria for classifying chemical hazards;
 Standardizing labels so that users
become familiar with them and
can easily recognize warnings;

 Creating universally understood
"pictograms" or images using a
standard format that will designate such things as "Health Hazard," "Flammable," Explosive,"
and an "Explanation Mark" to
designate potential hazards or irritants to skin, eyes or the respiratory system;
 Transfer from the traditional material safety data sheet (MSDS) to
thesafety data sheet (SDS), which
now has 16 sections and is already
being introduced (see sidebar).
 Precautionary statements about a
product's hazard class and category, which is to appear on the product's label.
A key part of the new program involves
training; this is the main portion of the
program to be introduced and implemented in 2016. Workers must be made aware
of GHS and the new HCS changes, why
they are being implemented, and why it
is being done most specifically for their
safety on the job. As part of the implementation this year, employers are required to
train workers about the new SDS format,
help them become familiar with it, learn
how to use it, and create ongoing safety
training programs for current and new
workers who use these chemicals.

INDUSTRY IMPACT
While everyone agrees that GHS and
HCS are worthy and will help promote
safety and help protect workers here
and around the world, that does not
mean all chemical manufacturers have

THE 16 SECTIONS IN
THE NEW SDS ARE:
* Section 1. Product identification
* Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
* Section 3. Composition/information
on ingredients
* Section 4. First-aid measures
* Section 5. Fire-fighting measures (if
applicable)
* Section 6. Accidental release
measures
* Section 7. Handling and storage
* Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
* Section 9. Physical and chemical
properties
* Section 10. Stability and reactivity
* Section 11. Toxicological information
* Section 12. Ecological information
* Section 13. Disposal considerations
* Section 14. Transport information
* Section 15. Regulatory information
* Section 16. Other information,
including date of preparation or last
revision.

greeted the program with open arms.
The key concern has been the cost. According to one medium-sized chemical
manufacturer in the professional cleaning industry, making all the changes required is expected to cost them more
than $200,000 just in labeling, SDS and
warning materials.
The other issue is helping end-customers and their workers understand
the changes. This will likely fall on the
shoulders of distributors, who can offer
their expertise to customers as an addon service, which could also help solidify these business relationships.
Ultimately, knowledgeable distributors
may be the only ones in a position to help
end-customers when they need to understand and implement the GHS and HCS
changes and program requirements. 
Michael Wilson is vice president of marketing for AFFLINK, a global leader in supply
chain optimization, providing clients with
innovative processes such as the ELEVATE™
process as well as procurement solutions to
drive efficiencies in today's leading businesses. He can be reached through his company
website at www.AFFLINK.com.

Spring 2016 www.wdimagazine.com

75


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016

Contents
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover2
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Contents
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 3
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Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover3
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover4
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