Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for a Workplace: A Capacity Building Workshop

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The two-day workshop on GHS organized by the US-APEC Technical Assistance to Advance Regional Integration project (US-ATAARI) was held on August 18-19, 2016 on the margins of the APEC Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3). The event provides individuals from the private sector and relevant government ministries/departments/agencies the opportunity to discuss issues related to GHS.


The objective of the workshop is to promote capacity building for both government and industry representatives from the APEC economies to facilitate trade and reduce costs by raising awareness of the international trade obligations of GHS, raising the level of knowledge on the aims and methodologies to implement GHS by government and the private sector; and determining the proper APEC actions to reduce non-tariff barriers (NTB) attributable to GHS implementation.


Delegates from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and the USA participated in the said workshop. Ms. Maureen Ruskin, Head of the US Delegation and Chair of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS (UNSCEGHS), Dr. Michelle Sullivan, a recognized expert in the U.S. and international hazard communication, Dr. Derek Swick, Manager, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for the American Petroleum Institute (API), Ms. Dusanka Sabic of Australia, Ms. Alexandra Burr of American Chemistry Council, Mr. Hitoshi Nanimoto of Japan METI discussed the topics lined up for the program including the work of UNSCEGHS, implementation status of GHS in APEC Economies, reducing regulatory divergences, implementation of GHS in petroleum products, transport o dangerous goods and GHS regulations and others.


Ms. Emmanuelita Mendoza of DENR-EMB, Mr. Guido Martinez Reyes of Chile, Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha of Vietnam and Mr. Kazukuni Saito of JCIA provided an overview of the GHS implementation in their respective countries and the Big Dr as part of the current efforts of the Japan industry association to comply with risk assessment requirements.


An interactive exercise in identifying the challenges with GHS labeling for small packages was done. The concept of small packages poses a challenge to GHS implementation due to the requirements to provide essential information on labels while ensuring the information is legible and easy to understand.