Colombia: new regulations to apply the GHS in the workplace.

Colombia: new regulations to apply the GHS in the workplace.

The new Resolution 773 of 2021 of the Ministry of Labor defines the actions that employers must implement in their companies in terms of classification and hazard communication for chemical hazards, under the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals GHS- sixth revised edition(2015), which Colombia adopted through Decree 1496 from 2018 in order to “turn it into a tool for the prevention of the potential effects that hazardous chemicals may have on human health and the environment. ”

The implementation of the GHS by companies in the workplace also represents a promotion and prevention action that was established as mandatory by the Article 9 of Law 1562 of 2012 on the Occupational Health and Occupational Health System.

Resolution 773 of 2021 was published in the Official Gazette 51.640 of April 9, 2021 and, taking that date as the beginning of the application period, establishes:

  • A maximum of 24 months for pure chemicals and dilute solutions.
  • A maximum of 36 months for mixtures.

Let´s explore some of its most important points.

  • 1. Who does the new regulation apply to?
  • To public and private employers, to contractors of personnel under the modality of civil, commercial or administrative contracts, to dependent and independent workers, contractors, apprentices, interns, cooperatives or pre-cooperatives associates who manipulate chemical products in the workplace, whether they are pure chemicals, dilute solutions, or mixtures.

  • 2. What does it establish about the classification and communication of hazards and packaging?
  • Employers must implement in their workplaces a system for the classification and communication of hazards of chemical products in accordance with the GHS, which also establishes the obligation to comply with the regulations on labeling and the preparation of Safety Data Sheets - SDS.

Labeling for dangerous products:

Hazardous chemicals intended to be used in workplaces must be labeled in Spanish and will contain at least the following information:

  • Identification of the product, the same as the one used in the Safety Data Sheet - SDS.
  • Identification of suppliers, whether manufacturers, importers or distributors, stating their name, address and telephone number.
  • Hazard communication elements of the product:
    • Pictograms
    • Signal word (danger or attention).
    • Indications.
    • Precautionary statements.

    Preparation of Safety Data Sheets - SDS:

    Employers must ensure that manufacturers, importers and / or suppliers of hazardous chemicals have provided Safety Data Sheets - SDS, which must be available at workplaces where chemicals are used and stored. Its format will follow the guidelines set by the SGA:

    • Free format.
    • Be available in Spanish.
    • Data and information must be consistent with information on chemical labels.
    • Register the local access emergency line or toll-free number with 24 hours 7 days a week availability.
    • Include the date of preparation, or if it is a revision, the date of the last revision.
    • Be available in physical or digital medium.
    • Be located in a visible and safe place.
    • Have the information required in each section as defined in the GHS.

    The employer who acts as a supplier or who makes own mixtures or dilutions will be responsible for the information in the SDS and must guarantee the competent authority access to the technical and scientific support used for its preparation. In addition, it is established that, at a minimum, they must review the information on which the labels and SDS are based every 5 years to ensure that all changes or updates have been reflected in the information recorded.

    If your company is one of those affected by the new regulations, , we recommend you CHEMETER, our safety data sheet software, which automatically creates the safety data sheet by means of an automatic calculation tailored to the country where the product is placed on the market and to the specific regulations of the industry in question, including:

    • Format according to specific regulations (section titles, legislative phrases...).
    • Official language of the country where the product is marketed.
    • Country- specific environmental limit values.
    • List of country-specific legislation in section 15.

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