Every workplace comes with its own unique set of hazards that all should workers be aware of in order to perform their job safely and ensure the safety of those that work with them. Even office workers come in contact with various hazards throughout the day in the form of cleaning chemicals or improper typing techniques. Though some hazards offer higher risks to those that come in contact and warrant proper safety labels to prevent any accidental injuries or harm.
A Move Towards A Global Standard
The Globally Harmonized System, or GHS, is a standardized collection of warning labels meant to inform every worker of the potential hazards within the workplace as well as any precautions that must be taken. The GHS labels come about as part of an effort to unify the necessary safety measures across the globe so that every worker would understand the present hazards regardless of geographic location.
By using specific unique GHS classification, workplace hazards have been broken down into three distinct groups based upon the individual type of harm each is capable of producing. Those that pose explosive threats, an extreme tendency for oxidization, and high flammability among others have been categorized into physical hazards. While those that cause acute poisoning, are extremely toxic, or carcinogenic in nature have been grouped together into health hazards. The final classification applies to compounds, mixtures, or chemicals that can severely impact the environment if mishandled and are thus aptly named environmental hazards.
To alert workers of each unique danger posed a series of GHS pictograms and GHS labels have been created to identify the dangers outright while accompanying SDS sheets are maintained within a workplace to expand further upon the dangers as well as explain any measures that should be followed in the case of an incident.
Orienting Yourself with Your Workplace’s Hazards
It is imperative that employees take a moment to familiarize themselves with all labeling present throughout their workplace and understand what to do in the case of an accident, at the least every employee should know the location of the SDS sheets that apply to each hazard.
The unification of all labeling greatly improves the safety of all workers present as it has provided a single standard for every workplace, whereas in the past, individual nations relied upon their own system which provided risks to those unfamiliar to their classifications.
As the entire world shifts towards a larger global economy, a single set of standards immensely improves the ability of everyone to ensure that they themselves are safe and aware of any possible danger. The ICC Compliance Center website can provide you with additional resources.