All Public and Private Sector Employers Must Train Staff in Global Harmonization Bookmark and Share

August 5, 2013

Department of Labor responds to federal mandate with free online training video

Contact: Julie Rabinowitz,, 207-621-5009

AUGUSTA—All employees in the state of Maine—in both the private and public sectors— must be trained in the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new Global Harmonization System (GHS) by December 1, 2013.

In order to make safety training accessible to all Maine employees and employers, the Maine Department of Labor has produced a 23-minute video explaining the new Global Harmonization System. In addition to the video, the department’s SafetyWorks! website offers a PowerPoint presentation and a quiz for employee training and a sample policy and poster for businesses. Employers can use the video and materials free.

“Complying with these federal training requirements could have been a costly undertaking for many small businesses and even larger employers,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “By creating a training video and putting it online for free, employers can have their employees take the training wherever it is most convenient—at work, at home, a CareerCenter or even the local library.”

Employers will need to keep records to prove upon an OSHA inspection that their staff have taken the required training. The materials that the Department of Labor has provided online will help employers meet OSHA’s training requirements.

OSHA adopted the Global Harmonization System (GHS) in 2012, which is now part of the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1200, the Hazardous Communication Standard. This training does not replace the normal Hazardous Chemical Training, which is still required.

The new system has a standardized Safety Data Sheet; it will replace the existing Material Safety Data Sheets and provide pictograms of the associated hazards. The GHS also provides a new labeling system with specific language pertaining to the chemical.

The video was produced with funding from Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services’ Risk Management Division and can be accessed via a link from the SafetyWorks! website, to the Maine Community College System website .

A closed-caption version of the training video will be available at the same links by the end of August.

SafetyWorks! can provide free training on-site for a single employer or in centralized locations for multiple employers. It provides more than 100 safety and health courses each year. Courses include fall protection, confined spaces, forklift operation, scaffolding, electrical hazards, ergonomics and ladder safety.

Employers interested in learning more about SafetyWorks! should contact SafetyWorks! at 1-877-SAFE 345 (1-877-723-3345) or .

SafetyWorks! is not OSHA and cannot issue fines or citations to private businesses. While SafetyWorks! helps businesses of any size, priority is given to small businesses. The program trains about 8,000 people and consults at nearly 1,000 worksites in Maine each year.