Your GHS Partner

SafeSchools can help your district prepare for the transition to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) system. The first deadline was December 1, 2013 and is related to staff training only. School districts do not have to be fully compliant until June 1, 2016, so you have time to address the changes. We look forward to helping make this transition as easy as possible for your district.

The Changes

Over the next few years, your district will be impacted by the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS was developed as a way to bring into agreement the chemical regulations and standards of countries around the world. GHS addresses the classification of chemicals and the communication of hazards related to those chemicals to users of the products via warning labels and safety data sheets.

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is the law in the U.S. and will soon be aligned with GHS. With the implementation of GHS, many chemical suppliers are now transitioning from the current MSDS format to the GHS SDS (Safety Data Sheet) format. The SDS format is nearly identical to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 16 section MSDS format but there are a few minor changes to the forms. The changes will be largely instituted by the chemical manufacturers and distributors but school districts will need to make some changes as well.

To read more about the changes from OSHA, please click here.

Important Dates for School Districts

The following are the key deadlines regarding the GHS changes that districts should note:

  • December 1, 2013: Employees must be trained by the districts on how to properly read the GHS system, including SDSs.
  • June 1, 2015: The switch to SDS must be completed by all chemical manufacturers and distributors. Districts should have the majority of their MSDSs switched to the SDS format.
  • June 1, 2016: Districts must be fully compliant with the HCS 2012 chemical classification guidelines.

How We're Addressing the Changes

SafeSchools Training

We recently published two new courses that are available to SafeSchools Training subscribers and can be used to meet the December 1, 2013 staff training deadline:

  1. Hazard Communications: Right to Understand
  2. Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Our Hazard Communications: Right to Understand course reflects OSHA's 2012 revised Hazard Communication Standard that now gives workers the "right to understand" hazards they may encounter in the workplace. The course also addresses implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification of Chemicals and Labeling (GHS) and the change from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Our new Safety Data Sheets (SDS) course provides school staff with an understanding of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) as they relate to hazardous chemicals and the knowledge to use the information found in the SDSs to protect yourself and others in your school. These courses are now available in your SafeSchools Training sites.

Because the new OSHA regulations include a transition period allowing districts time to switch to the new GHS system, we will continue to make our current Hazard Communications: Right to Know course and our Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) course available in addition to the new courses.

If you'd like to learn more about a SafeSchools Training subscription, please email

SafeSchools MSDS

Our product development team is hard at work integrating the GHS and SDS changes to our SafeSchools SDS program. The system will be fully compliant with GHS mandates.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at 1.800.434.0154 or