For UM-Flint departments whose employees work with chemical products or hazardous chemicals, there is new information regarding the Hazard Communication Standard which outlines employer requirements in providing adequate health and safety. OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) and MIOSHA (Michigan Occupational Safety) are adopting the international Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as part of the Hazard Communication Standard. The goal of OSHA and MIOSHA adopting the GHS system is to ensure that employers provide health & safety information on hazardous chemicals in a more uniform and structured manner consistent with other countries’ hazardous chemical definitions and labeling requirements to enhance the easy understanding of this important safety information by employees. 

Some of the key changes that come with implementation the GHS system:

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) will be in a uniform 16 Section Format and are now called Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
  • Manufacturers are required to provide more detailed information on their labels regarding the chemical hazards and use the GHS pictograms to convey the hazards of those.  (See Appendix C of attached guideline)
  • The nine GHS pictograms combine several chemical groups within the given hazard to simplify communication on the hazards (See Appendix E of attached guideline).
  • Training on the new GHS labeling, safe chemical procedures and practices, and other requirements for ALL employees who are covered by the Hazard Communication Standard must be completed by December 1, 2013.
  • The full standard requirements do not come into effect until June 1, 2016.

What this means for UM-Flint:

  • EHS revised the campus Hazard Communication Guideline (attached) to address new standard requirements.  These revisions are consistent with recently updated UM-Ann Arbor OSEH Guideline for Hazard Communication. 
  • Supervisors of employees who work with hazardous chemicals and chemical products will need to ensure their employees attend one of the scheduled GHS Hazard Communication Training classes before the December 1, 2013 deadline.  If employees have taken GHS Hazard Communication Training through the EHS department in July or August 2013, they have already been trained on the new GHS information and will not be required to attend in the fall. Weekly classes are being scheduled through November.   Supervisors have the option of scheduling a training class with EHS for their employees on a date and time that is convenient for them.  Send e-mail to to schedule a class.
  • Something NEW in this guideline is that departments who use and store chemicals will need to have their own written hazard communication program.  The good news is that there is an easy to use template in the guideline (See Appendix G).  EHS will review all written departmental Hazard Communication Programs which we would expect to be able to finalize in the next 3-4 months. 

Below are the scheduled GHS Hazard Communication Classes:

Date Time Place
Feb. 21st (Friday) 9:00-10:00 a.m. 331 French Hall
Feb. 26th (Wednesday) 9:00-10:00 a.m. 331 French Hall
Mar. 12th (Wednesday) 9:00-10:00 a.m. 331 French Hall

Please contact EHS with any questions or would like assistance in determining which employees are required to participate in this fall’s GHS Hazard Communication classes.