June 01, 2017

Chemical Hazard Communication: What U.S. Employers Need to Know about Globally Harmonized System Standards

According to a recent United Nations’ trade publication, the global chemical business is an enterprise with an estimated $2 trillion traded annually. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Key Statistics and Trends in International Trade 2016 (2017) at 18. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated the United States’ shipments of chemicals are valued at $555 billion annually, and there are approximately 13,500 chemical manufacturing facilities in the United States alone—excluding chemical end-users. EPA, Chemical Manufacturing (last updated Feb. 20, 2016), available at https://archive.epa.gov/sectors/web/html/chemical.html. Chemicals are imported and exported with increasing volume and speed. Because companies ship chemicals around the globe, it is no surprise that businesses and regulators desire harmonized document management and information systems throughout the supply chain for communication purposes. Businesses and regulators have focused on chemical hazard communication, which directly affects the millions of employees throughout the supply chain who are or could become exposed to chemicals in their workplace.

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