GHS – Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
Worldwide there is a variety of different systems in place for the classification and the labeling of chemicals. Therefore it might happen that an identical substance is classified as toxic, harmful to health or as non-hazardous / not dangerous at the same time in different countries.
Example: Substance with LD50 (oral) = 257 mg/kg
harmful tho health
harmful to health
harmful to health
dangerous / hazardous
not dangerous / non-hazardous
GHS will introduce a number of worldwide harmonized criteria for the classification of physical dangers as well as dangers to health and the environment.
GHS specifies a worldwide standardized exchange of information:
- hazard class & hazard category
- hazard pictograms
- signal words
- hazard warnings
- safety notes / safety information
GSH will improve the safety and health protection at the work place enormously as well as the product safety. Safety, health and environmental protection measures will be improvedon a global scale.
All EU member states have accepted GHS by the end of 2008. Till December 1st 2010 (for substances) respectively till june 1st 2015 (for mixtures) the EU member states have time to categorize and label according to the new GHS criteria. In the meantime the EC directives for hazardous substances and perparations can be applied in parallel with GHS. Therefore there will be chemical products in circulation using the new or the old labeling at the same time. Products with the old labeling which are already on the market can still be sold for 2 more years after the expiration of these deadlines.
The New Label
This change will be most obvious in the exchange of information on dangers / hazards. The old symbols and their indications of dangers / hazards as well as the risk and safety phrases (R- and S- phrases) will be replaced by the new hazard pictograms, signal words as well as hazard statements and precautionary statements. There will be fundamental changes in the terminology. For example ′very toxic′ will be replaced by ′danger to life′.
The previous hazard statements (e.g. highly flammable or toxic) will be dropped. Instead there will be a signal word. The signal word will provide information on the degree of risk and will show the user the potential danger.
In GHS two signal word are available: ′Danger′ which stands for a serious danger category and ′Caution′ which points to a lower danger category.
GHS – Dangers and safety notes
- R phrases will be replaced by hazard warnings.
- S phrases will be replaced by safety notes
The number of hazard warnings and safety notes increases, the wording has been reworked.
The new hazard pictograms:
(examples for allocated hazard classes)
- Safety data sheets need to be changed. With the new REACH Regluation coming into force on July 1st 2007 changes to the safety data sheet already came into effect. As the changes are first and foremost of formal nature our safety data sheets will be transferred the new REACH format at the next regular inspection. With the coming into operation of the registration activities of manufacturers and importers starting in the middle of 2008 expansions in terms of content for the safety data sheet will gradually follow.
exposures and recommendations for the risk management concerning hazardous substances
We will take on these new features in a timely and comprehensive manner.
- Labeling of the containers (labes) needs to be changed. This possibly concerns also the user if they transfill their products in smaller containers.
- Hazardous material cadasters need to be adjusted.
- Operating instructions need to be reworked.
- Employees need to be trained extensively.
Some links with further information on the topic of GHS: