Technical Articles

Is OSHA and GHS the same?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) are two distinct entities that play vital roles in ensuring workplace safety. Although they share some similarities in their objectives, they have different scopes and approaches. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of OSHA and GHS to understand their purpose, regulations, and how they complement each other.

Understanding OSHA

OSHA is a regulatory agency established by the U.S. Department of Labor. Its primary aim is to enforce health and safety standards in workplaces across various industries. OSHA sets guidelines and regulations to ensure employers provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. These regulations cover a wide range of areas, including hazard communication, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, and more.

Exploring GHS

GHS, on the other hand, is an internationally recognized system created by the United Nations. The main objective of GHS is to standardize chemical classification and communication globally. It provides a framework for classifying and labeling hazardous chemicals consistently, enhancing safety information transfer between countries, and promoting better understanding of chemical risks. GHS covers hazard classification, labels, safety data sheets (SDS), and employee training on chemical handling.

How OSHA and GHS Complement Each Other

While OSHA and GHS are independent entities, they work together harmoniously to improve workplace safety. OSHA incorporates GHS guidelines into its hazard communication standard, aligning its requirements with the internationally accepted principles of GHS. Employers must comply with OSHA's hazard communication standard, which mandates the use of GHS-aligned labels and safety data sheets. This integration ensures that employees and employers have access to consistent hazard information, regardless of the chemicals' origin or destination.

It is important to note that OSHA regulations go beyond GHS requirements, covering broader aspects of workplace safety. OSHA sets standards on various hazards and provides detailed guidelines for compliance. In contrast, GHS primarily focuses on chemical hazards and their communication. Therefore, while GHS addresses the specific challenges related to hazardous chemicals, OSHA ensures overall health and safety in workplaces by addressing a wide range of hazards.


In conclusion, OSHA and GHS are distinct entities with different scopes but a common goal of ensuring workplace safety. OSHA acts as a regulatory agency in the United States, setting comprehensive health and safety standards across industries. GHS, an internationally recognized system, standardizes the classification and communication of hazardous chemicals globally. Together, they create a comprehensive framework for employers and employees to understand and mitigate potential hazards in the workplace efficiently. By following OSHA's regulations and incorporating GHS into their hazard communication practices, employers can safeguard their workforce and contribute to a safer working environment.


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