By Xunyao Fu, PhD.
The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued the “Guidelines for the Implementation of Global Harmonised System (GHS) in Chemical Safety Program in the Workplace” (Department Order No. 136-14) on February 28, 2014. The “workplace” means all workplaces dealing with the manufacture, use and storage of industrial chemicals, in the private sector, including their supply chain.
The Order emphasizes the roles and responsibilities of employers, employees and the Safety and Health Committee. Employers shall ensure that all chemicals are properly labelled and supplied with Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) which are prepared in accordance with GHS. This is to guarantee the safe use of chemicals in workplaces. Employees shall protect themselves from the hazards resulting from the use of chemicals at work. The Safety and Health Committee shall develop accident prevention plans in order to assure the safety of people and establishments.
There are no specific requirements on hazard classifications, labelling and SDSs. However, people shall refer to the latest provisions of GHS (currently Revision 5 of GHS) as required by the Order. Confidential Business Information (CBI) claims, according to the guidance, are acceptable.
The transition period for all establishments using industrial chemicals to comply with the requirements in this Order is one year from the effective date of March 14, 2014 which is by March 13, 2015. Please note there are no separate deadlines for substances and mixtures. Both substances and mixtures used in workplaces shall be provided with GHS labelling and SDSs by then
DOLE Department Order No. 136-14