Dealing with chemicals and hazardous substances poses numerous life-threatening risks. Therefore, to ensure workplace safety and proper hazard communication, the United Nations developed the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
GHS is an internationally agreed-upon system for standardising and harmonising hazard communication, classification, and labelling of hazardous chemicals. The system uses labels and safety data sheets that share essential hazard information and protective measures. GHS labels have specific requirements for the content that must be adhered to communicate hazard information effectively.
This article will provide an in-depth overview of GHS label requirements. GHS mandates certain elements to be presented on the label for proper hazard communication. There are six key elements in a GHS label.
- Signal Word
- GHS Symbols (also called GHS Pictograms or Hazard Pictograms)
- Hazard Statement
- Manufacturer Information (also called Suppliers Information)
- Precautionary Statement
- Product Identification
GHS has divided these six elements into two categories.
- Standard Label Elements
- Harmonized Label Elements
Standard label elements are pre-defined and must be exactly according to the regulations provided by GHS. GHS does not specify a format, although standard label elements should be listed together on the label. Standard label elements include.
- Signal Word
- GHS Symbols
- Hazard Statements
Harmonized label elements are those elements that are not pre-defined and are added to the label according to the product or process. These elements will look different based on use cases but must be present in some way or another. Harmonized label elements have no specified formate or rule of placement.
- Manufacturer Information
- Precautionary Statement
- Product Identification
Apart from standard and harmonized label elements, there is an optional element to be included on the label. This element is called Supplemental Information. We have covered the supplemental information element in detail in the later part of this blog post.
Within a specific hazard class, “Danger” is used to signal severe life-threatening hazards, while “Warning” is used to signal less severe hazards. It’s important to note that even though a chemical has multiple hazards, only one signal word will appear on the label. GHS symbols are pictograms used for communicating specific hazard information associated with a product. The GHS system consists of nine pictograms divided into three categories.
- Health Hazards
- Fire and Explosion Hazards
- Chemical and Environmental Hazards
A GHS hazard symbol is presented in a diamond shape with a black hazard pictogram on a white background. Please refer to our hazard sign guide for more information on GHS hazard symbols and their meaning. Hazard statements are a set of standardized phrases that describe the nature and the degree of severity of the hazard(s). They are briefly written to warn the reader about potential harm and the consequence of mishandling. Hazard statements are also identified by a code that starts with the letter H and is followed by three numerical digits.
- H200 series (H2xx) – represents physical hazards
- H300 series (H3xx) – represents health hazards
- H400 series (H4xx) – represents environmental hazards
GHS has made it mandatory to state all applicable hazard statements (and not H-codes) on the label. However, these statements are allowed to be combined to reduce redundancies and improve readability as required. Please note that the GHS has standardized hazard statements; therefore, they must be written as GHS lists them.
- 1 How many elements are in the GHS label?
- 2 What are the 3 standardized label elements included in the GHS?
- 3 What are the 3 new GHS hazard classes?
- 4 Will labels be standardized under GHS?
- 5 What is a GHS label pictogram?
- 6 What are GHS 7 classifications?
- 7 How many elements must be present on a GHS secondary container?
How many elements are in the GHS label?
Update chemical containers with GHS labels – Labeling is the cornerstone of GHS compliance. With an emphasis on consistency and comprehension of chemical labels, it is important to know what goes into a GHS compliant label for primary and secondary containers. There are six key GHS label elements that you need to know.
What is the new GHS standard?
A Guide to OSHA’s New GHS Chemical Labeling Requirements OSHA estimates over 5 million workplaces in the United States will be affected by the, including approximately 90,000 establishments that create hazardous chemicals. Combined, these chemical producers employ nearly 3 million workers.
OSHA expects to make updates to its own HCS every 2 years in order to keep up with the U.N.’s anticipated changes. OSHA’s new labeling requirements are expected to have the greatest impact on U.S.-based chemical manufacturers and chemical importers, with few mandatory changes slated for other general chemical storage.
HCS targets chemical manufacturers and importers to ensure their chemical containers will display a label similar to those now used in Europe and many other GHS adopters beginning June 1, 2015. The GHS-inspired standards will require chemical manufacturers and importers to label chemical containers with 1) a harmonized signal word 2) GHS pictogram(s) 3) a hazard statement for each hazard class and category and 4) a precautionary statement.
- These elements are discussed in greater detail below: · A harmonized signal word is used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label.
- The signal words are “danger,” used for the more severe hazards, and “warning,” which is used for less severe hazards.
· The GHS pictogram is a symbol plus other graphic elements, such as a border, background pattern or color that is intended to convey specific information about the hazards of a chemical. Each pictogram consists of a different symbol on a white background within a red square frame set on a point (i.e., a red diamond).
- · A hazard statement isassigned to a hazard class and category to describe the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
- · A precautionary statement is a phrase that describes recommended measures to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical.
Employers who only store chemicals have the flexibility to use OSHA’s new labeling system or choose to continue using the old NFPA 704 Hazard Rating System or Hazardous Material Information System (HMIS). However, the information supplied on these labels must be consistent with the newly revised HCS, e.g., no conflicting hazard warnings or pictograms.
- Eep in mind that OSHA plans to update the old, “alternative” labeling system requirements June 1, 2016.
- Since alternative labeling requirements may change in fewer than 4 years and employers must train employees to understand new label elements and the new format by Dec.13, 2013, voluntarily switching to the revised HCS labeling now likely will reduce costs over the long run and reduce confusion in the workplace.
The newly revised HCS outlines eight specific GHS pictograms for use on labels. Each is surrounded by a red border and designed to convey the health and physical hazards of chemicals. A ninth, environmental pictogram may be required by other agencies, but not by OSHA.
Environmental hazards are not within OSHA’s jurisdiction. In addition to the new labeling requirements, chemical manufacturers now must supply customers with a GHS-standardized, 16-section SDS. The new format provides customers implement the new HCS standards an easy-to-understand reference for labeling.
A Coherent Approach OSHA officials say the new changes provide ” a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.” Once implemented, OSHA leaders believe the revised standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals.
- This latest update, officials add, also will help reduce trade barriers and result in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store and use hazardous chemicals.
- Cost savings are also anticipated for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard.
For more information on these changes, visit, Jack Rubinger of Portland, Ore., is an industrial copywriter for Graphic Products Inc. and DuraLabel.com. He has more than 20 years of experience writing for safety, industrial and trade media. DuraLabel will present a May 9 on the GHS changes.
What are the 3 standardized label elements included in the GHS?
Hazard Statements – A hazard statement is exactly what it sounds like; it is a written statement of what kind of hazards there are and the degree of their severity. These brief statements must be written in full. These phrases are standardized by the GHS, which means they have to be written exactly as they are listed by them.
What are the 6 GHS label requirements?
All labels are required to have pictograms, a signal word, hazard and precautionary statements, the product identifier, and supplier identification.
What must the new GHS labels contain?
Labels for a hazardous chemical must contain: Name, Address and Telephone Number Product Identifier Signal Word Hazard Statement(s) Precautionary Statement(s) Pictogram(s) Page 3 3 above, the label could state, ‘Do not breathe vapors or spray.
What are the 3 new GHS hazard classes?
GHS Hazard Classification – GHS uses three hazard classes: Health Hazards, Physical Hazards and Environmental Hazards. These aren’t required by OSHA. Health hazards present dangers to human health (i.e. breathing or vision) while physical hazards cause damage to the body (like skin corrosion).
- There are 16 physical hazards and 10 health hazards: each hazard is then further divided according to different severity levels.
- Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors are required to classify their chemicals using the updated HazCom 2012.
- HazCom 2012 provides specific criteria to address physical hazards, health hazards and the classification of chemical mixtures.
It’s important to note, the HazCom 2012 categories are similar yet contradictory to the HMIS/NFPA ratings: GHS 1 – 4 rating system ranks 4 as the least severe while NFPA’s rank 4 is most severe. This inverse rating system has created some concern, however OSHA has indicated that the GHS numbers are for hazard classification purposes and do not reflect the rating of the hazard itself.
What is the latest version of GHS?
UN GHS-The 9th Revised Edition has been Published – Regulatory News – Chemicals – CIRS Group.
Will labels be standardized under GHS?
GHS: The primary benefit of the GHS is to increase the quality and consistency of information provided to workers, employers and chemical users by adopting a standardized approach to hazard classification, labels and safety data.
What are the 4 categories of GHS precautionary statements?
The applicable statements are chosen using the hazard category identified during the hazard classification process and found in Appendix C of the HCS. In the appendix, precautionary statements are broken into four sections: Prevention, Response, Storage and Disposal.
What is GHS pictogram labels?
Health Hazard GHS Symbol – The health hazard pictogram is used for substances that present a health hazard over time. Chemical classes include:
Carcinogens, which cause cancer Respiratory sensitizers Agents with reproductive toxicity that affects fertility or in utero development Chemicals with target organ toxicity Mutagenic chemicals that cause genetic defects Substances with aspiration toxicity
You can learn about the specific health risk(s) in the label’s text.
What is a GHS label pictogram?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Hazard pictograms form part of the international Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Two sets of pictograms are included within the GHS: one for the labelling of containers and for workplace hazard warnings, and a second for use during the transport of dangerous goods.
Either one or the other is chosen, depending on the target audience, but the two are not used together. The two sets of pictograms use the same symbols for the same hazards, although certain symbols are not required for transport pictograms. Transport pictograms come in wider variety of colors and may contain additional information such as a subcategory number.
Hazard pictograms are one of the key elements for the labelling of containers under the GHS, along with:
- an identification of the product;
- a signal word – either Danger or Warning – where necessary
- hazard statements, indicating the nature and degree of the risks posed by the product
- precautionary statements, indicating how the product should be handled to minimize risks to the user (as well as to other people and the general environment)
- the identity of the supplier (who might be a manufacturer or importer)
The GHS chemical hazard pictograms are intended to provide the basis for or to replace national systems of hazard pictograms. It has still to be implemented by the European Union ( CLP regulation ) in 2009. The GHS transport pictograms are the same as those recommended in the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, widely implemented in national regulations such as the U.S.
What are GHS hazard codes?
List of GHS label hazard statements and H codes – Each GHS hazard statement is designated an H code, which starts with the letter H and is followed by 3 digits (H_ _ _). These are for reference purposes only and most useful to assist in translation. While they may appear on a GHS label, the hazard statements are what are required to appear.