GHS for Chemical Labels – 12 facts to know

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A quick list of factoids regarding GHS for Chemical Labels

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  1. GHS for chemical labels stands for the Globally Harmonized System of the Classification and Labelling of Chemical products.
  2. It is a set of standards and systems for the safe manufacture, transportation, use, handling and disposal of chemicals and chemical mixtures.
  3. GHS for chemical labels is a UN initiative to help enable the harmonization of chemical handling across the globe. It is in effect an off-the-shelf offering from the UN.
  4. The UK adopted the GHS through its membership of the European Union in 2009. A transition period known as the CLP lasted until July 2015. All chemical labelling must adhere to GHS standards adopted through Directive 2008/112/EC and Regulation (EC) 1336/2008.
  5. GHS is not a law per se. It is a system with a collection of best practices for individual nations to implement and no country is obligated to implement any or all of it without their own sovereign decision to do so.
  6. GHS is a modular system for chemical regulations and countries can pick and choose which sections they may implement.
  7. The key areas that GHS for chemical Labels covers are: safety labels, chemical classification and safety data sheets (SDS) formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).
  8. GHS sets out specific information to be included in the template Safety Data Sheets including safety phrases, warning phrases and more. The objective is to achieve uniformity in communication and reduce the opportunity for misinterpretation.
  9. GHS for chemical Labels sets out the format of chemical labels along with symbology to indicate hazards and precautions required with chemicals and chemical mixtures.
  10. To date (November 2016), more than 70 countries have implemented GHS for chemical labels, including the USA and the European Union (consisting of 28 nations including the UK).
  11. The four main areas that GHS addresses are Hazard Classification, Labelling, Safety Data Sheets and Training.
  12. The main costs associated with the adoption of GHS for chemical labels are reclassification of chemicals, re-writing safety data sheets and re-design of chemical labels, training of personnel.

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