In March 2012, OSHA issued a final rule that substantially modified the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The final rule requires that all employers whose employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals must train their employees about the new label elements and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) requirements by December 1, 2013.

What is the GHS?

The GHS is an acronym for The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The GHS is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals. It is a logical and comprehensive approach to:

  • Defining health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals;
  • Creating classification processes that use available data on chemicals for comparison with the defined hazard criteria;
  • Communicating hazard information, as well as protective measures on labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Many Countries Already Have Regulatory Systems in Place

These systems may be similar in content and approach, but their differences are significant enough to require multiple classifications, labels and safety data sheets for the same product when marketed in different countries, or even in the same country when parts of the life cycle are covered by different regulatory authorities. This leads to inconsistent protection for those potentially exposed to the chemicals, as well as creating extensive regulatory burdens on companies producing chemicals.

United States Has Numerous Agencies With Different Classification and Labeling Requirements

In the United States, there are requirements for classification and labeling of chemicals for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

GHS Itself is Not a Regulation or a Standard

GHS Document is Also Referred to as The Purple Book

The GHS Document establishes agreed hazard classification and communication provisions with explanatory information on how to apply the system. Elements in the GHS, supply a mechanism to meet the basic requirement of any hazard communication system, which is to decide if the chemical product produced and/or supplied is hazardous and to prepare a label and/or Safety Data Sheet as appropriate.

Other Countries Adopting GHS Provide Their Own Regulatory Processes

Regulatory authorities in countries adopting the GHS will thus take these criteria and provisions, and implement them through their own regulatory process and procedures rather than simply incorporating the text of the GHS into their national requirements. The GHS Document thus provides countries with the regulatory building blocks to develop or modify existing national programs that address classification of hazards and transmittal of information about those hazards and associated protective measures. This helps to ensure the safe use of chemicals as they move through the product life cycle.

Why was the GHS Developed?

The production and use of chemicals is fundamental to all economies. The global chemical business is more than a $1.7 trillion per year enterprise. In the U.S., chemicals are more than a $450 billion business and exports are greater than $80 billion per year. Having readily available information on the hazardous properties of chemicals, and recommended control measures, allows the production, transport, use and disposal of chemicals to be managed safely. Thus, human health and the environment are protected.

Widespread Use of Chemicals had Resulted in Sector-Specific Regulations

Chemicals directly or indirectly affect our lives and are essential to our food, our health, and our lifestyle. The widespread use of chemicals has resulted in the development of sector-specific regulations (transport, production, workplace, agriculture, trade, and consumer products).

Sound Chemicals Management Should Include Systems Whereby Chemical Hazards are Identified and Communicated to all Potentially Exposed People

These groups include workers, consumers, emergency responders and the public. It is important to know what chemicals are present and/or used, hazards to human health and the environment as well as means to control them. A number of classification and labeling systems, each addressing specific use patterns and groups of chemicals, exist at the national, regional and international levels. The existing hazard classification and labeling systems address potential exposure to chemicals in all the types of use settings listed above.

While the existing laws and regulations are similar, they are different enough to require multiple labels for the same product both within the U.S. and in international trade and to require multiple safety data sheets for the same product in international trade. Several U.S. regulatory agencies and various countries have different requirements for hazard definitions as well as for information to be included on labels or material safety data sheets.

Coverage Varies Between Existing Systems Within the U.S. and Globally

This means that the same product can be non-hazardous or hazardous with different labels/SDSs. These differences in hazards and SDS/labels impact both protection and trade. In the area of protection, users may see different label warnings or safety data sheet information for the same chemical. In the area of trade, the need to comply with multiple regulations regarding hazard classification and labeling is costly and time-consuming.

Some multi-national companies estimate that there are over 100 diverse hazard communication regulations for their products globally. For small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) regulatory compliance is complex and costly, and it can act as a barrier to international trade in chemicals.

1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development International Mandate (aka Earth Summit)

The single most important force that drove the creation of the GHS was the international mandate adopted in the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), often called the “Earth Summit”. The harmonization of classification and labeling of chemicals was one of six program areas that were endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen international efforts concerning the environmentally sound management of chemicals. It was recognized that an internationally harmonized approach to classification and labeling would provide the foundation for all countries to develop comprehensive national programs to ensure the safe use of chemicals.

How was the GHS Developed?

International Labor Organization (ILO) Studied the Tasks Required to Achieve Harmonization

In conjunction with its Convention and Recommendation on Safety in the Use of Chemicals at Work, the International Labor Organization (ILO) studied the tasks required to achieve harmonization. The ILO concluded that there were four major existing systems that needed to be harmonized to achieve a global approach.

No international organization covers all aspects of chemical classification and labeling. A broad scope and extensive expertise and resources were required to develop a system. In order to proceed, several decisions were needed.

Key Guiding Principles of the Harmonization Process

A Coordinating Group for the Harmonization of Chemical Classification Systems (CG/HCCS) was created under the Inter-organization Program for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) and they were charged with coordinating and managing development of the system. The GC/HCCS worked on a consensus basis and included representatives from major stakeholders, including national governments, industry and workers. Their scope and guiding principles created a common framework for the organizations that were charged with developing the different elements of the system.

Work was Divided Among Three Technical Focal Points

The overall responsibilities of the Coordinating Group itself. The UN Committee of Experts on Transport of Dangerous Goods was selected as the lead for work on physical hazards, in cooperation with the ILO. Based on their work in the testing guidelines and other chemical issues, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was selected for health/environmental hazards and mixtures. ILO has a long history in MSDS/labels, and was selected to be the lead in hazard communication. The OECD and ILO groups also included representatives from governments, industry and workers.

How Will the GHS be Maintained and Updated?

In October 1999, the United Nations Economic and Social Council decided (resolution 1999/65) to enlarge the mandate of the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by reconfiguring it into a Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and labelling of Chemicals (UNCETDG/GHS). At the same time, a new Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and labeling of Chemicals (GHS Sub-Committee) was also created.

When the IOMC completed developing the GHS, the system was presented to the UN GHS Sub-Committee, which formally adopted the system at its first session in December 2002. It was subsequently endorsed by the UNCETDG/GHS. The UN Economic and Social Council endorsed the GHS in July 2003.

The Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification Will:

  • Act as custodian of the system, managing and giving direction to the harmonization process.
  • Keep the system up-to-date, as necessary, considering the need to introduce changes or updates to ensure its continued relevance.
  • Promote understanding and use of the system and encourage feedback.
  • Make the system available for worldwide use.
  • Make guidance available on the application of the system, and on the interpretation and use of technical criteria to support consistency of application.
  • Prepare work programs and submit recommendations to the UNCETDG/GHS.

When Will the GHS be Implemented?

There is no international implementation schedule for the GHS. It is likely that different national systems/sectors will require different time frames for GHS implementation. Existing systems will need to consider phase-in strategies for transition from their current requirements to the new GHS requirements.

Several International Bodies Have Proposed Implementation Goals

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the Intergovernmental Forum for Chemical Safety (IFCS) have encouraged countries to implement the new GHS as soon as possible with a view to having the system fully operational by 2008. The Ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have also said that as many APEC economies as possible should implement, on a voluntary basis, the GHS by 2006. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Tri-national Occupational Safety and Health Group and the NAFTA Pesticides Technical Working Group are discussing the GHS.

Some of the major existing systems have begun discussions about GHS implementation and situational analyses comparing existing requirements to GHS requirements. Some countries are considering harmonization to the greatest extent possible between their national sectors.

What are the Benefits of the GHS?

The basic goal of hazard communication is to ensure that employers, employees and the public are provided with adequate, practical, reliable and comprehensible information on the hazards of chemicals, so that they can take effective preventive and protective measure for their health and safety. Thus, implementation of effective hazard communication provides benefits for governments, companies, workers, and members of the public.

The GHS has maximum value if it is accepted in all major regulatory systems for chemical hazard communication. If the GHS is implemented globally, consistent information will be communicated on labels and SDSs.
It is Anticipated That Application of the GHS Will:

Enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an internationally comprehensible system,
Provide a recognized framework to develop regulations for those countries without existing systems,
Facilitate international trade in chemicals whose hazards have been identified on an international basis,
Reduce the need for testing and evaluation against multiple classification systems.

Tangible Benefits to Governments are:

  • Fewer chemical accidents and incidents.
  • Lower health care costs.
  • Improved protection of workers and the public from chemical hazards.
  • Avoiding duplication of effort in creating national systems.
  • Reduction in the costs of enforcement.
  • Improved reputation on chemical issues, both domestically and internationally.

Benefits to Companies Include:

  • A safer work environment and improved relations with employees.
  • An increase in efficiency and reduced costs from compliance with hazard communication regulations.
  • Application of expert systems resulting in maximizing expert resources and minimizing labor and costs.
  • Facilitation of electronic transmission systems with international scope.
  • Expanded use of training programs on health and safety.
  • Reduced costs due to fewer accidents and illnesses.
  • Improved corporate image and credibility.

Benefits to Workers and Members of the Public Include:

  • Improved safety for workers and others through consistent and simplified communications on chemical hazards and practices to follow for safe handling and use.
  • Greater awareness of hazards, resulting in safer use of chemicals in the workplace and in the home.

How is the GHS to be Applied?

The design of the GHS communication elements reflects the different needs of various target audiences, such as workers and consumers. To proceed further up the pyramid, some existing national programs also include risk management systems as part of an overall program on the sound management of chemicals. The general goal of these systems is to minimize exposure, resulting in reduced risk.

Identify Intrinsic Hazards then Communicate

The GHS Classification and Communication elements are the foundation of programs to ensure the safe use of chemicals. The first two steps in any program to ensure the safe use of chemicals are to identify intrinsic hazard(s) (i.e., classification) and then to communicate that information.

The systems vary in focus and include activities such as establishing exposure limits, recommending exposure monitoring methods and creating engineering controls. However, the target audiences of such systems are generally limited to workplace settings. With or without formal risk management systems, the GHS is designed to promote the safe use of chemicals.

Are All Chemicals Covered by the GHS?

There are no complete exemptions from the scope of the GHS for a particular type of chemical or product. The term “chemical” is used broadly to include substances, products, mixtures, preparations, or any other terms that may be used by existing systems.

GHS Covers all Hazardous Chemicals

The goal of the GHS is to identify the intrinsic hazards of chemical substances and mixtures and to convey hazard information about these hazards. The GHS is not intended to harmonize risk assessment procedures or risk management decisions, as described above.

Classification in the GHS is Criteria-Based

“Articles” as defined in the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200), or by similar definitions, are outside the scope of the GHS. Chemical inventory (e.g., TSCA, EINECS, etc.) and chemical control requirements in various countries are not harmonized by the GHS. Classification in the GHS is criteria-based, not limiting coverage to a list that can become outdated. It is not anticipated that the GHS will develop or maintain an international classification authority or international classification list. Several countries currently maintain regulatory lists. GHS classification criteria can be used to reclassify chemicals on lists, if desired. Existing lists, such as those provide by organizations that evaluate cancer hazards, could be used in conjunction with the GHS to promote harmonization.

Will all Hazardous Chemicals Require a GHS Label and Safety Data Sheet?

The need for GHS labels and/or Safety Data Sheets is expected to vary by product category or stage in the chemical’s life cycle from research/production to end use. For example, pharmaceuticals, food additives, cosmetics and pesticide residues in food will not be covered by the GHS at the point of consumption, but will be covered where workers may be exposed (workplaces), and in transport.

Also, the medical use of human or veterinary pharmaceuticals is generally addressed in package inserts and is not part of existing hazard communication systems. Similarly, foods are generally not labeled under existing hazard communication systems. The exact requirements for labels and Safety Data Sheets will continue to be defined in national regulations. However, national requirements are expected to be consistent with the detailed discussion of scope provided in the GHS document.

How Will the GHS Impact Existing Regulations?

The GHS is a voluntary international system that imposes no binding treaty obligations on countries. To the extent that countries adopt the GHS into their systems, the regulatory changes would be binding for covered industries. For countries with existing systems, it is expected that the GHS components will be applied within the framework/infrastructure of existing hazard communication regulatory schemes. For example, exceptions and exemptions found in existing regulations would not be expected to change (e.g., transportation of limited quantities).
It is Anticipated That ALL Existing Hazard Communication Systems Will Need to be Changed in Order to Apply the GHS. However, the specific hazard criteria, classification processes, label elements and SDS requirements within an existing regulation will need to be modified to be consistent with the harmonized elements of the GHS. For example, in the U.S. EPA and OSHA would be expected to require hazard pictograms/symbols on labels. Canada and the EU would be expected to adopt the GHS pictograms/symbols instead of those currently in use. The transport sector is expected to adopt the changed criteria (LD50/LC50) for the GHS Acute Toxicity Categories 1 – 3. OSHA HCS, WHMIS and the EU would all need to change their acute toxicity criteria.

Test data already generated for the classification of chemicals under existing systems should be accepted when classifying these chemicals under the GHS, thereby avoiding duplicative testing and the unnecessary use of test animals.

What is Meant by GHS Building Blocks?

The GHS classification and communication requirements can be thought of as a collection of building blocks. In regulatory schemes, coverage and communication of hazards vary by the needs of target audiences/sectors. Accordingly, the GHS was designed to contain the hazard endpoints and communication tools necessary for application to known regulatory schemes. The GHS is structured so that the appropriate elements for classification and communication, which address the target audiences, can be selected.

The full range of harmonized elements is available to everyone, and should be used if a country or organization chooses to cover a certain effect when it adopts the GHS. The full range of these elements does not have to be adopted. Countries can determine which of the building blocks will be applied in different parts of their systems (consumer, workplace, transport, pesticides, etc.).

Some Options for Implementing the GHS Include:

  • Not using a GHS class (e.g., cancer, hazardous to the aquatic environment, etc.);
  • Not using a GHS category (normally at the beginning or end of a class, e.g., Acute Toxicity Cat. 5);
  • Combining categories (e.g., Acute Toxicity Cat.# 1 and Cat.# 2; Skin Corrosion Cat.1A, 1B and 1C).

How Should the GHS Building Blocks be Applied?

Appropriate implementation of the GHS means that the hazards covered by a Competent Authority (CA) are covered consistently with the GHS criteria and requirements. The EPA, Health Canada and OSHA are examples of Competent Authorities. Competent Authorities will decide how to apply the various elements of the GHS based on the CA needs and the needs of target audiences.

When a regulatory scheme covers something that is in the GHS, and implements the GHS, that coverage should be consistent. Once an endpoint and subclasses are selected, as needed, the GHS classification criteria, assigned label elements and SDS provisions should be followed as specified in the GHS. If a regulatory system covers carcinogenicity, for example, it should follow the harmonized classification scheme, the harmonized label elements and, where appropriate, the SDS.

To gain a better understanding of the building block approach, it is helpful to look at the specific sectors/target audiences. The needs and regulations of the various sectors vary depending on the type of chemical and use pattern. Different target audiences or sectors receive and use hazard information in different ways.

Primary Sectors/Target Audiences are Transport, Workplace, Consumers and Agriculture (Pesticides)

These sectors are described in more detail below.

Transport

For transport, it is expected that application of the GHS will be similar to application of current transport requirements.

  • GHS physical, acute and environmental hazard criteria are expected to be adopted in the transport sector.
  • Containers of dangerous goods will have pictograms that address acute toxicity, physical hazards, and environmental hazards.
  • GHS hazard communication elements such as signal words, hazard statements and SDS are not expected to be adopted in the transport sector.

Workplace

In the workplace, it is expected that most of the GHS elements will be adopted, including;·

  • GHS physical and health hazard criteria, as appropriate;
  • Labels that have the harmonized core information under the GHS (signal words, hazard statements and symbols, etc.);
  • Safety Data Sheets;
  • Employee training to help ensure effective communication is also anticipated;

All workplace systems may not have the jurisdiction to adopt environmental hazards.

Consumer

For the consumer sector, it is expected that labels will be the primary focus of GHS application.·

  • The appropriate GHS hazard criteria are expected to be adopted;
  • These labels will include the core elements of the GHS (signal words, hazard statements and symbols, etc.), subject to some sector-specific considerations in certain systems (e.g., risk-based labeling).

Agriculture (Pesticides)

For pesticides, it is expected that the GHS will be adopted.

  • The appropriate GHS hazard criteria are expected to be adopted;
  • Pesticide labels will include the core elements of the GHS (signal words, hazard statements and symbols, etc.), subject to some sector-specific considerations in certain systems.

How Will the GHS Impact Countries Without Existing Regulations?

Developing and maintaining a classification and labeling system is not a simple task. The GHS can be used as a tool for developing national regulations. It is expected that countries that do not have systems will adopt GHS as their basic scheme. The GHS provides the building blocks from which countries can construct chemical safety programs. Although the GHS will facilitate the process, many challenges exist in creating new regulations.

For example:

  • What is the appropriate legal framework for adopting/implementing the GHS?
  • What government agencies should be involved? Are there ministries/agencies ready to implement and maintain the GHS?
  • How will stakeholder cooperation and support for implementing the GHS be managed?

Work has Begun in International Organizations Under UN GHS Sub-Committee’s Guidance

Work has begun in international organizations (e.g, UNITAR and ILO) under the guidance of the UN GHS Sub-Committee, to develop technical assistance for developing countries to write new regulations using the GHS elements. Guidance has been developed on how to implement a national GHS action plan. Additionally, pilot implementations have begun in a few countries. The opportunities and challenges learned from the pilot programs will be documented and are expected to facilitate future implementations.

Classification is the Starting Point for Hazard Communication

Classification involves the identification of the hazard(s) of a chemical or mixture by assigning a category of hazard/danger using defined criteria. The GHS is designed to be consistent and transparent. It draws a clear distinction between classes and categories in order to allow for “self classification”.

For Many Hazards a Decision Tree Approach is Provided in the GHS Document

For several hazards the GHS criteria are semi-quantitative or qualitative. Expert judgment may be required to interpret these data.

The term “hazard classification is used to indicate that only the intrinsic hazardous properties of substances and mixtures are considered and involves the following 3 steps:

  1. Identification of relevant data regarding the hazards of a substance or mixture;
  2. Subsequent review of those data to ascertain the hazards associated with the substance or mixture; and
  3. A decision on whether the substance or mixture will be classified as a hazardous substance or mixture and the degree of hazard, where appropriate, by comparison of the data with agreed hazard classification criteria.

Data Used for Classification May be Obtained From Tests, Literature or Practical Experience

The GHS health and environmental hazard criteria/definitions are test method neutral. Accordingly, tests that determine hazardous properties conducted according to internationally recognized scientific principles can be used for purposes of hazard classification.

GHS Endpoints Cover Physical, Health and Environmental Hazards

As mentioned earlier, the GHS hazard definitions are criteria-based. The following information provides an overview of the GHS definitions and classification criteria. It is recommended that the person responsible for GHS implementation consult the GHS Document or “Purple Book” for more complete information.

What are the GHS Physical Hazards?

The GHS physical hazards criteria, developed by the ILO and UNCETDG, were largely based on the existing criteria used by the UN Model Regulation on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Therefore, many of the criteria are already being used on a worldwide basis. However, some additions and changes were necessary since the scope of the GHS includes all target audiences. The physical hazards classification process provides specific references to approved test methods and criteria for classification. The GHS physical hazard criteria apply to mixtures.

It is Assumed That Mixtures Will be Tested for Physical Hazards

In general, the GHS criteria for physical hazards are quantitative or semi-quantitative with multiple hazard levels within an endpoint. This is different from several of the existing systems that currently have qualitative criteria for various physical hazards (e.g., organic peroxide criteria under WHMIS and OSHA HCS). This could make classification under the GHS more consistent.

In Developing GHS Criteria for Physical Hazards it was Necessary to Define Physical States

  • A gas is a substance or mixture which at 50°C has a vapor pressure greater than 300 kPa; or is completely gaseous at 20°C and a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa.
  • A liquid is a substance or mixture that is not a gas and which has a melting point or initial melting point of 20°C or less at standard pressure of 101.3 kPa.
  • A solid is a substance or mixture that does not meet the definitions of a liquid or a gas.

GHS Physical Hazards are Briefly Described Below

For many of the physical hazards the GHS Document contains Guidance Sections with practical information to assist in applying the criteria.

GHS Physical Hazards

  • Explosives
  • Flammable Gases
  • Flammable Aerosols
  • Oxidizing Gases
  • Gases Under Pressure
  • Flammable Liquids
  • Flammable Solids
  • Self-Reactive Substances
  • Pyrophoric Liquids
  • Pyrophoric Solids
  • Self-Heating Substances
  • Substances which, in contact with water emit flammable gases
  • Oxidizing Liquids
  • Oxidizing Solids
  • Organic Peroxides
  • Corrosive to Metals

GHS Explosives

An explosive substance (or mixture) is a solid or liquid which is in itself capable by chemical reaction of producing gas at such a temperature and pressure and at such a speed as to cause damage to the surroundings. Pyrotechnic substances are included even when they do not evolve gases. A pyrotechnic substance (or mixture) is designed to produce an effect by heat, light, sound, gas or smoke or a combination of these as the result of non-detonative, self-sustaining, exothermic chemical reactions.

Classification as an explosive and allocation to a division is a three-step process:

  • Ascertain if the material has explosive effects (Test Series 1);
  • Acceptance procedure (Test Series 2 to 4);
  • Assignment to one of six hazard divisions (Test Series 5 to 7).

Explosive properties are associated with certain chemical groups that can react to give very rapid increases in temperature or pressure. The GHS provides a screening procedure that is aimed at identifying the presence of such reactive groups and the potential for rapid energy release. If the screening procedure identifies the substance or mixture to be a potential explosive, the acceptance procedure has to be performed.

Substances, mixtures and articles are assigned to one of six divisions, 1.1 to 1.6, depending on the type of hazard they present. See, UN Manual of Tests and Criteria Part I Test Series 2 to 7. Currently, only the transport sector uses six categories for explosives.

GHS Flammable Gases

Flammable gas means a gas having a flammable range in air at 20°C and a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of two hazard categories on the basis of the outcome of the test or calculation method (ISO 10156:1996).

GHS Flammable Aerosols

Aerosols are any gas compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure within a non-refillable container made of metal, glass or plastic, with or without a liquid, paste or powder. The container is fitted with a release device allowing the contents to be ejected as solid or liquid particles in suspension in a gas, as a foam, paste or powder or in a liquid or gaseous state.

Aerosols should be considered for classification as either a Category 1 or Category 2 Flammable Aerosol if they contain any component classified as flammable according to the GHS criteria for flammable liquids, flammable gases, or flammable solids.

Classification is based on:

  • Concentration of flammable components;
  • Chemical heat of combustion (mainly for transport/storage);
  • Results from the foam test (foam aerosols) (mainly for worker/consumer);
  • Ignition distance test (spray aerosols) (mainly for worker/consumer);
  • Enclosed space test (spray aerosols) (mainly for worker/consumer).

Aerosols are considered:

  • Nonflammable, if the concentration of the flammable components < 1% and the heat of combustion is < 20 kJ/g.
  • Extremely flammable, if the concentration of the flammable components >85% and the heat of combustion is > 30 kJ/g to avoid excessive testing.

See the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria for the test method.

GHS Oxidizing Gases

Oxidizing gas means any gas which may, generally by providing oxygen, cause or contribute to the combustion of other material more than air does. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to a single hazard category on the basis that, generally by providing oxygen, they cause or contribute to the combustion of other material more than air does. The test method is ISO 10156:1996. Currently, several workplace hazard communication systems cover oxidizers (solids, liquids, gases) as a class of chemicals.

GHS Gases Under Pressure

Gases under pressure are gases that are contained in a receptacle at a pressure not less than 280 Pa at 20°C or as a refrigerated liquid. This endpoint covers four types of gases or gaseous mixtures to address the effects of sudden release of pressure or freezing which may lead to serious damage to people, property, or the environment independent of other hazards the gases may pose.

For this group of gases, the following information is required:

  • vapor pressure at 50°C;
  • physical state at 20°C at standard ambient pressure;
  • critical temperature.

Criteria that use the physical state or compressed gases will be a different classification basis for some workplace systems.

Group Criteria

  • Compressed gas – Entirely gaseous at -50°C
  • Liquefied gas – Partially liquid at temperatures > -50°C
  • Refrigerated liquefied gas – Partially liquid because of its low temperature
  • Dissolved gas – Dissolved in a liquid phase solvent

Data can be found in the literature, and calculated or determined by testing. Most pure gases are already classified in the UN Model Regulations. Gases are classified, according to their physical state when packaged, into one of four groups.

GHS Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquid means a liquid having a flash point of not more than 93°C. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of four hazard categories on the basis of the flash point and boiling point (See below). Flash Point is determined by closed cup methods as provided in the GHS document, Chapter 2.5, paragraph 11.

Flammable Liquids (Category Criteria)

  • 1 = Flash point < 23°C and initial boiling point ≤ 35°C (95°F)
  • 2 = Flash point < 23°C and initial boiling point > 35°C (95°F)
  • 3 = Flash point ≥ 23°C and ≤ 60°C (140°F)
  • 4 = Flash point ≥ 60°C (140°F) and ≤ 93°C (200°F)

GHS Flammable Solids

Flammable solids are solids that are readily combustible, or may cause or contribute to fire through friction. Readily combustible solids are powdered, granular, or pasty substances which are dangerous if they can be easily ignited by brief contact with an ignition source, such as a burning match, and if the flame spreads rapidly.
Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of two hazard categories (see below) on the basis of the outcome of the UN Test N.1 (UN Manual of Tests and Criteria). The tests include burning time, burning rate and behavior of fire in a wetted zone of the test sample.

Flammable Solids (Category Criteria)

  • 1 = Metal Powders: burning time ≤ 5 minutes
  • Others: wetted zone does not stop fire & burning time < 45 seconds or burning > 2.2 mm/second
  • 2 = Metal Powders: burning time > 5 and ≤ 10 minutes
  • Others: wetted zone stop fire for at least 4 minutes & burning time < 45 seconds or burning rat > 2.2mm/second

GHS Self-Reactive Substances

Self-reactive substances are thermally unstable liquids or solids liable to undergo a strongly exothermic thermal decomposition even without participation of oxygen (air). This definition excludes materials classified under the GHS as explosive, organic peroxides or as oxidizing. These materials may have similar properties, but such hazards are addressed in their specific endpoints. There are exceptions to the self-reactive classification for material: (i) with heat of decomposition 75°C for a 50 kg package.

Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of the seven ‘Types’, A to G, on the basis of the outcome of the UN Test Series A to H (UN Manual of Tests and Criteria). Currently, only the transport sector uses seven categories for self-reactive substances (see below).

Self-Reactive Substances (Type & Criteria)

  • A = Can detonate or deflagrate rapidly, as packaged
  • B = Possess explosive properties and which, as packaged, neither detonates nor deflagrates, but is liable to undergo a thermal explosion in that package
  • C = Possess explosive properties when the substance or mixture as package cannot detonate or deflagrate rapidly or undergo a thermal explosion
  • D = Detonates partially, does not deflagrate rapidly and shows no violent effect when heated under confinement; or Does not detonate at all, deflagrates slowly and shows no violent effect when heated under confinement; or Does not detonate or deflagrate at all and shows a medium effect when heated under confinement
  • E = Neither detonates nor deflagrates at all and shows low or no effect when heated under confinement
  • F = Neither detonates in the cavitated bubble state nor deflagrates at all and shows only a low or no effect when heated under confinement as well as low or no explosive power
  • G = Neither detonates in the cavitated state nor deflagrates at all and shows non effect when heated under confinement nor any explosive power, provided that it is thermally stable (self-accelerating decomposition temperature is 60°C to 75°C for a 50 kg package), and, for liquid mixtures, a diluent having a boiling point not less than 150°C is used for desensitization

GHS Pyrophoric Liquids

A pyrophoric liquid is a liquid which, even in small quantities, is liable to ignite within five minutes after coming into contact with air. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to a single hazard category on the basis of the outcome of the UN Test N.3 (UN Manual of Tests and Criteria).

GHS Pyrophoric Solids

A pyrophoric solid is a solid which, even in small quantities, is liable to ignite within five minutes after coming into contact with air. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to a single hazard category on the basis of the outcome of the UN Test N.2 (UN Manual of Tests and Criteria).

GHS Self-Heating Substances

A self-heating substance is a solid or liquid, other than a pyrophoric substance, which, by reaction with air and without energy supply, is liable to self-heat. This endpoint differs from a pyrophoric substance in that it will ignite only when in large amounts (kilograms) and after long periods of time (hours or days). Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of two hazard categories on the basis of the outcome of the UN Test N.4 (UN Manual of Tests and Criteria).

GHS Substances Which on Contact with Water Emit Flammable Gases

Substances that, in contact with water, emit flammable gases are solids or liquids which, by interaction with water, are liable to become spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable gases in dangerous quantities. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of three hazard categories on the basis of test results (UN Test N.5 UN Manual of Tests and Criteria) which measure gas evolution and speed of evolution.

Substances which on Contact with Water Emit Flammable Gases (Category & Criteria)

  • 1 = ≥10 L/kg/1 minute
  • 2 = ≥20 L/kg/ 1 hour + < 10 L/kg/1 min
  • 3 = ≥1 L/kg/1 hour + < 20 L/kg/1 hour
  • Not Classified = < 1 L/kg/1 hour

GHS Oxidizing Liquids

An oxidizing liquid is a liquid which, while in itself not necessarily combustible, may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause or contribute to the combustion of other material. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of three hazard categories on the basis of test results (UN Test O.2 UN Manual of Tests and Criteria) which measure ignition or pressure rise time compared to defined mixtures.

GHS Oxidizing Solids

An oxidizing solid is a solid which, while in itself not necessarily combustible, may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause or contribute to the combustion of other material. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of three hazard categories on the basis of test results (UN Test O.1 UN Manual of Tests and Criteria) which measure mean burning time and re compared to defined mixtures. Currently, several workplace hazard communication systems cover oxidizers (solids, liquids, gases) as a class of chemicals.

GHS Organic Peroxides

An organic peroxide is an organic liquid or solid which contains the bivalent -0-0- structure and may be considered a derivative of hydrogen peroxide, where one or both of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals. The term also includes organic peroxide formulations (mixtures).

Such substances and mixtures may:

  • be liable to explosive decomposition;
  • burn rapidly;
  • be sensitive to impact or friction;
  • React dangerously with other substances.

Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of seven ‘Types’, A to G, on the basis of the outcome of the UN Test Series A to H (UN Manual of Tests and Criteria). Currently, only the transport sector uses seven categories for organic peroxides.

Organic Peroxides (Type & Criteria)

  • Type A Can detonate or deflagrate rapidly, as packaged
  • Type B Possess explosive properties and which, as packaged, neither detonates nor deflagrates rapidly,but is liable to undergo a thermal explosion in that package.
  • Type C Possess explosive properties when the substance or mixture as packaged cannot detonate or deflagrate rapidly or undergo a thermal explosion
  • Type D Detonates partially, does not deflagrate rapidly and shows no violent effect when heated under confinement; or does not detonate at all, deflagrates slowly and shows no violent effect when heated under confinement; or does not detonate or deflagrate at all and shows a medium effect when heated under confinement.
  • Type E Neither detonates nor deflagrates at all and shows low or no effect when heated under confinement
  • Type F Neither detonates in the caviated bubble state nor deflagrates at all and shows only a low or no effect when heated under confinements as well as low or non explosive power
  • Type G Neither detonates in the caviated state nor deflagrates at all and shows no effect when heated under confinement nor any explosive power, provided that it is thermally stable (self-accelerating decomposition temperature is 60°C to 75°C for a 50 kg package), and, for liquid mixtures, a diluent having a boiling point not less than 150°C is used for desensitization

GHS Substances Corrosive to Metal

A substance or a mixture that by chemical action will materially damage, or even destroy, metals is termed ‘corrosive to metal’. These substances or mixtures are classified in a single hazard category on the basis of tests (Steel: ISO 9328 (II): 1991 – Steel type P235; Aluminum: ASTM G31-72 (1990) – non-clad types 7075-T6 or AZ5GU-T66). The GHS criteria are a corrosion rate on steel or aluminum surfaces exceeding 6.25 mm per year at a test temperature of 55°C. The concern in this case is the protection of metal equipment or installations in case of leakage (e.g., plane, ship, tank), not material compatibility between the container/tank and the product. This hazard is not currently covered in all systems.

What are the GHS Health and Environmental Hazards?

The GHS health and environmental hazard criteria represent a harmonized approach for existing classification systems. The work at the OECD to develop the GHS criteria included: A thorough analysis of existing classification systems, including the scientific basis for a system and its criteria, its rationale and an explanation of the mode of use; a proposal for harmonized criteria for each category. For some categories the harmonized approach was easy to develop because the existing systems had similar approaches. In cases where the approach was different, a compromise consensus proposal was developed.

Health and environmental criteria were established for substances and mixtures.

GHS Health Hazards

  • Acute Toxicity
  • Skin Corrosion/Irritation
  • Serious Eye Damage/Eye Irritation
  • Respiratory or Skin Sensitization
  • Germ Cell Mutagenicity
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Reproductive Toxicology
  • Target Organ Systemic Toxicity – Single Exposure
  • Target Organ Systemic Toxicity – Repeated Exposure
  • Aspiration Toxicity

GHS Environmental Hazards

  • Hazardous to the Aquatic Environment
  • Acute aquatic toxicity
  • Chronic aquatic toxicity
  • Bioaccumulation potential
  • Rapid degradability

GHS Health and Environmental Endpoints

The following paragraphs briefly describe the GHS health and environmental endpoints. The criteria for classifying substances are presented first. Then the GHS approach to classifying mixtures is briefly discussed. It is recommended that the person responsible for GHS implementation consult the GHS Document or “Purple Book” for more complete information.

GHS Acute Toxicity

Five GHS categories have been included in the GHS Acute Toxicity scheme from which the appropriate elements relevant to transport, consumer, worker and environment protection can be selected. Substances are assigned to one of the five toxicity categories on the basis of LD50 (oral, dermal) or LC50 (inhalation). The LC50 values are based on 4-hour tests in animals. The GHS provides guidance on converting 1-hour inhalation test results to a 4-hour equivalent.

Category 1, the most severe toxicity category, has cut-off values currently used primarily by the transport sector for classification for packing groups. Some Competent Authorities may consider combining Acute Categories 1 and 2.

Category 5 is for chemicals which are of relatively low acute toxicity but which, under certain circumstances, may pose a hazard to vulnerable populations. Criteria other than LD50/LC50 data are provided to identify substances in Category 5 unless a more hazardous class is warranted.

GHS Skin Corrosion and Skin Irritation

Skin corrosion means the production of irreversible damage to the skin following the application of a test substance for up to 4 hours. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to a single harmonized corrosion category. For Competent Authorities, such as transport packing groups, needing more than one designation for corrosiveness, up to three subcategories are provided within the corrosive category.

Several factors should be considered in determining the corrosion potential before testing is initiated: Human experience showing irreversible damage to the skin;
Structure/activity or structure property relationship to a substance or mixture already classified as corrosive;
pH extremes of £ 2 and ³ 11.5 including acid/alkali reserve capacity.

Skin Corrosion Category 1

  • Destruction of dermal tissue: visible necrosis in at least one animal.
  • Subcategory 1A Exposure < 3 min., Observation < 1hr
  • Subcategory 1B Exposure <1hr., Observation < 1hr
  • Subcategory 1C Exposure < 4 hrs., Observation < 14 days

Skin Irritation Category 2

  • Reversible adverse effects in dermal tissue.
  • Draize score: ≥ 2.3 < 4.0 or persistent inflammation

Mild Skin Irritation Category 3

  • Reversible adverse effects in dermal tissue.
  • Draize score: ≥ 1.5 < 2.3

GHS Skin Irritation

Skin irritation means the production of reversible damage to the skin following the application of a test substance for up to 4 hours. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to a single irritant category. For those authorities, such as pesticide regulators, wanting more than one designation for skin irritation, an additional mild irritant category is provided. See the Skin Corrosion/Irritation Table 3.9.

Several factors should be considered in determining the irritation potential before testing is initiated: Human experience or data showing reversible damage to the skin following exposure of up to 4 hours;
Structure/activity or structure property relationship to a substance or mixture already classified as an irritant.

GHS Eye Effects

Several factors should be considered in determining the serious eye damage or eye irritation potential before testing is initiated:

  • Accumulated human and animal experience;
  • Structure/activity or structure property relationship to a substance or mixture already classified;
  • pH extremes like < 2 and > 11.5 that may produce serious eye damage.

Eye Effects Category 1

  • Serious eye damage
  • Irreversible damage 21 days after exposure
  • Corneal opacity ≥ 3
  • Iritis > 1.5
  • Irritant Subcategory 2A, Reversible in 21 days
  • Mild Irritant Subcategory 2B Reversible in 7 days

Eye Effects Category 2

  • Eye Irritation
  • Reversible adverse effects on cornea, iris, conjunctiva
  • Corneal opacity ≥ 1, Iritis > 1
  • Redness ≥ 2, Chemosis ≥ 2

Serious eye damage means the production of tissue damage in the eye, or serious physical decay of vision, following application of a test substance to the front surface of the eye, which is not fully reversible within 21 days of application. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to a single harmonized category.

Eye irritation means changes in the eye following the application of a test substance to the front surface of the eye, which are fully reversible within 21 days of application. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to a single harmonized hazard category. For authorities, such as pesticide regulators, wanting more than one designation for eye irritation, one of two subcategories can be selected, depending on whether the effects are reversible in 21 or 7 days.

GHS Sensitization

Respiratory sensitizer means a substance that induces hypersensitivity of the airways following inhalation of the substance. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to one hazard category.

Skin sensitizer means a substance that will induce an allergic response following skin contact. The definition for “skin sensitizer” is equivalent to “contact sensitizer”. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to one hazard category. Consideration should be given to classifying substances which cause immunological contact urticaria (an allergic disorder) as contact sensitizers.

GHS Germ Cell Mutagenicity

Mutagen means an agent giving rise to an increased occurrence of mutations in populations of cells and/or organisms. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to one of two hazard categories. Category 1 has two subcategories. See Germ Cell Mutagenicity breakdown below.

Mutagenicity Category 1, Known/Presumed

  • Known to produce heritable mutations in human germ cells.
  • Subcategory 1A 
    • Positive evidence from epidemiological studies; tests in mammals; Human germ cell tests In vivo somatic mutagenicity tests, combined with some evidence of germ cell mutagenicity.
  • Subcategory 1B
    • Positive results in: In vivo heritable germ cell In vivo somatic genotoxicity supported by in vitro mutagenicity

Mutagenicity Category 2, Suspected/Possible

  • May include heritable mutations in human germ cells.
  • Positive evidence from: tests in mammals and somatic cell tests.

GHS Carcinogenicity

Carcinogen means a chemical substance or a mixture of chemical substances which induce cancer or increase its incidence. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to one of two hazard categories. Category 1 has two subcategories. The Carcinogenicity Guidance Section in the GHS Document includes comments about IARC.

Category 1, Known or Presumed Carcinogen

  • Subcategory 1A
    • Known Human Carcinogen Based on human evidence carcinogenicity
  • Subcategory 1B
    • Presumed Human Carcinogen Based on demonstrated animal

Category 2, Suspected Carcinogen

  • Limited evidence of human or animal carcinogenicity

GHS Reproductive Toxicity

Reproductive toxicity includes adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as developmental toxicity in offspring. Substances and mixtures with reproductive and/or developmental effects are assigned to one of two hazard categories, ‘known or presumed’ and ‘suspected’. Category 1 has two subcategories for reproductive and developmental effects. Materials which cause concern for the health of breastfed children have a separate category, Effects on or Via Lactation.

Category 1, Known

  • Known or presumed to cause effects on human reproduction or on development.
  • Category 1A
    • Known, Based human evidence
  • Category 1B
    • Presumed, Based on experimental animals

Category 2, Suspected

  • Human or animal evidence possibly with other information.

Additional Category

  • Effects on or via lactation

GHS Target Organ Systemic Toxicity (TOST): Single Exposure & Repeated Exposure

The GHS distinguishes between single and repeat exposure for Target Organ Effects. Some existing systems distinguish between single and repeat exposure for these effects and some do not. All significant health effects, not otherwise specifically included in the GHS, that can impair function, both reversible and irreversible, immediate and/or delayed are included in the non-lethal target organ/systemic toxicity class (TOST). Narcotic effects and respiratory tract irritation are considered to be target organ systemic effects following a single exposure.

Substances and mixtures of the single exposure target organ toxicity hazard class are assigned to one of three hazard categories:

Category 1

  • Significant toxicity in humans.
  • Reliable, good quality human  case studies or epidemiological  studies
  • Presumed significant toxicity in humans
  • Animal studies with significant and/or severe toxic effects relevant to humans at generally
    low exposure (guidance)

Category 2

  • Presumed to be harmful  to human health.
  • Animal studies with significant toxic effects relevant to humans at generally moderate exposure (guidance)
  • Human evidence in exceptional cases.

Category 3

  • Transient target organ effects.
  • Narcotic effects
  • Respiratory tract irritation

Substances and mixtures of the repeated exposure target organ toxicity hazard class are assigned to one of two hazard categories:

Category 1

  • Significant toxicity in humans.
  • Reliable, good quality human case studies or epidemiological studies.
  • Presumed significant toxicity in humans.
  • Animal studies with significant and/or severe toxic effects relevant to humans at generally low exposure (guidance)

Category 2

  • Presumed to be harmful to human health.
  • Animal studies with significant toxic effects relevant to humans at generally moderate exposure (guidance)
  • Human evidence in exception cases.

In order to help reach a decision about whether a substance should be classified or not, and to what degree it would be classified (Category 1 vs. Category 2), dose/concentration ‘guidance values’ are provided in the GHS. The guidance values and ranges for single and repeated doses are intended only for guidance purposes. This means that they are to be used as part of the weight of evidence approach, and to assist with decisions about classification. They are not intended as strict demarcation values. The guidance value for repeated dose effects refer to effects seen in a standard 90-day toxicity study conducted in rats. They can be used as a basis to extrapolate equivalent guidance values for toxicity studies of greater or lesser duration.

GHS Aspiration Hazard

Aspiration toxicity includes severe acute effects such as chemical pneumonia, varying degrees of pulmonary injury or death following aspiration. Aspiration is the entry of a liquid or solid directly through the oral or nasal cavity, or indirectly from vomiting, into the trachea and lower respiratory system. Some hydrocarbons (petroleum distillates) and certain chlorinated hydrocarbons have been shown to pose an aspiration hazard in humans. Primary alcohols, and ketones have been shown to pose an aspiration hazard only in animal studies.

Category 1, Known (regarded) human

  • Human evidence
  • Hydrocarbons with kinematic viscosity 20.5 mm2/s at 40° C & not Category 1
  • Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of two hazard categories this hazard class on the basis of viscosity.

Category 2, Presumed human

  • Based on animal studies
  • Surface tension, water solubility, boiling point.
  • kinematic viscosity 14 mm2/s at 40°C

GHS Environmental Hazards

GHS Hazardous to the Aquatic Environment

The harmonized criteria are considered suitable for packaged goods in both supply and use in multi-modal transport schemes. Elements of it may be used for bulk land transport and bulk marine transport under MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) insofar as this uses aquatic toxicity. Two Guidance Documents (Annexes 8 and 9 of the GHS Document) cover issues such as data interpretation and the application of the criteria to special substances. Considering the complexity of this endpoint and the breadth of the application, the Guidance Annexes are important in the application of the harmonized criteria.

GHS Acute Aquatic Toxicity

Acute aquatic toxicity means the intrinsic property of a material to cause injury to an aquatic organism in a short-term exposure. Substances and mixtures of this hazard class are assigned to one of three toxicity categories on the basis of acute toxicity data: LC50 (fish) or EC50 (crustacea) or ErC50 (for algae or other aquatic plants). In some regulatory systems these acute toxicity categories may be subdivided or extended for certain sectors.

GHS Chronic Aquatic Toxicity

Chronic aquatic toxicity means the potential or actual properties of a material to cause adverse effects to aquatic organisms during exposures that are determined in relation to the lifecycle of the organism. Substances and mixtures in this hazard class are assigned to one of four toxicity categories on the basis of acute data and environmental fate data: LC50 (fish) or EC50 (crustacea) or ErC50 (for algae or other aquatic plants) and degradation/bioaccumulation.

While experimentally derived test data are preferred, where no experimental data are available, validated Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSARs) for aquatic toxicity and log KOW may be used in the classification process. The log KOW is a surrogate for a measured Bio-concentration Factor (BCF), where such a measured BCF value would always take precedence.

Chronic Category IV is considered a “safety net” classification for use when the available data do not allow classification under the formal criteria, but there are some grounds for concern.

What is the GHS Approach to Classifying Mixtures?

For consistency and understanding the provisions for classifying mixtures, the GHS defines certain terms. These working definitions are for the purpose of evaluating or determining the hazards of a product for classification and labeling.

GHS Substance

Chemical elements and their compounds in the natural state or obtained by any production process, including any additive necessary to preserve the stability of the product and any impurities deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition.

GHS Mixture

Mixtures or solutions composed of two or more substances in which they do not react.

GHS Alloy

An alloy is a metallic material, homogeneous on a macroscopic scale, consisting of two or more elements so combined that they cannot be readily separated by mechanical means. Alloys are considered to be mixtures for the purpose of classification under the GHS.

Where impurities, additives or individual constituents of a substance or mixture have been identified and are themselves classified, they should be taken into account during classification if they exceed the cutoff value/concentration limit for a given hazard class.

GHS Tier Approach to Classification of Mixtures

  • Generally, use test data for the mixture, if available;
  • Compared to substance hazard criteria
  • Use bridging principles, if applicable;
  • Estimate hazard(s) based on the known component information

As mentioned previously, the GHS physical hazard criteria apply to mixtures. It is assumed that mixtures will be tested for physical hazards. Each health and environmental endpoint chapter in the GHS contains specific criteria for classifying mixtures as well as substances. The GHS Document or “Purple Book” should be consulted for complete information on classifying mixtures.

The process established for classifying a mixture allows the use of (a) available data for the mixture itself and/or (b) similar mixtures and/or (c) data for ingredients of the mixture. The GHS approach to the classification of mixtures for health and environmental hazards is tiered, and is dependent upon the amount of information available for the mixture itself and for its components.

The process for the classification of mixtures is based on the following steps:

  1. Where test data are available for the mixture itself, the classification of the mixture will be based on that data (See exception for carcinogens, mutagens & reproductive toxins in the GHS Document);
  2. Where test data are not available for the mixture itself, then the appropriate bridging principles (as described below) in the specific chapter should be used;
  3. If (i) test data are not available for the mixture itself, and (ii) the bridging principles cannot be applied, then use the calculation or cutoff values described in the specific endpoint to classify the mixture.

Bridging Principles for Classifying Untested Mixtures

Bridging principles are an important concept in the GHS for classifying untested mixtures. When a mixture has not been tested, but there are sufficient data on the components and/or similar tested mixtures, these data can be used in accordance with the following bridging principles:

  • Dilution: If a mixture is diluted with a diluent that has an equivalent or lower toxicity, then the hazards of the new mixture are assumed to be equivalent to the original.
  • Batching: If a batch of a complex substance is produced under a controlled process, then the hazards of the new batch are assumed to be equivalent to the previous batches.
  • Concentration of Highly Toxic Mixtures: If a mixture is severely hazardous, then a concentrated mixture is also assumed to be severely hazardous
  • Interpolation within One Toxic Category: Mixtures having component concentrations within a range where the hazards are known are assumed to have those known hazards.
  • Substantially Similar Mixtures: Slight changes in the concentrations of components are not expected to change the hazards of a mixture and substitutions involving toxicologically similar components are not expected to change the hazards of a mixture
  • Aerosols: An aerosol form of a mixture is assumed to have the same hazards as the tested, non-aerosolized form of the mixture unless the propellant affects the hazards upon spraying.

All bridging principles do not apply to every health and environmental endpoint. Consult each endpoint to determine which bridging principles apply.

When the bridging principles do not apply or ca not be used, the health and environmental hazards of mixtures are estimated based on component information. In the GHS, the methodology used to estimate these hazards varies by endpoint. The GHS Document or “Purple Book” should be consulted for more complete information on classifying mixtures. Below is a summary of the GHS mixtures approach for the various health and environmental endpoints.

What Testing is Required for Substances or Mixtures?

The GHS itself does not include requirements for testing substances or mixtures. Therefore, there is no requirement under the GHS to generate test data for any hazard class. Some parts of regulatory systems may require data to be generated (e.g., for pesticides), but these requirements are not related specifically to the GHS.

The GHS criteria for determining health and environmental hazards are test method neutral, allowing different approaches as long as they are scientifically sound and validated according to international procedures and criteria already referred to in existing systems.

Test data already generated for the classification of chemicals under existing systems should be accepted when classifying these chemicals under the GHS, thereby avoiding duplicative testing and the unnecessary use of test animals. The GHS physical hazard criteria are linked to specific test methods. It is assumed that mixtures will be tested for physical hazards.

GHS Hazard Communication

Previous Sections explained that classification is the starting point for the GHS. Once a chemical has been classified, the hazard(s) must be communicated to target audiences. As in existing systems, labels and Safety Data Sheets are the main tools for chemical hazard communication. They identify the hazardous properties of chemicals that may pose a health, physical or environmental hazard during normal handling or use. The goal of the GHS is to identify the intrinsic hazards found in chemical substances and mixtures, and to convey information about these hazards.

The international mandate for the GHS included the development of a harmonized hazard communication system, including labeling, Safety Data Sheets and easily understandable symbols, based on the classification criteria developed for the GHS.

Factors That Influenced Development of the GHS Communication Tools

Early in the process of developing the GHS communication tools, several significant issues were recognized. One of the most important was comprehensibility of the information provided. After all, the aim of the system is to present hazard information in a manner that the intended audience can easily understand and that will thus minimize the possibility of adverse effects resulting from exposure.

Guiding Principles Assist in this Process

Information should be conveyed in more than one way, e.g., text and symbols;

The comprehensibility of the components of the system should take account of existing studies and literature as well as any evidence gained from testing;
The phrases used to indicate degree (severity) of hazard should be consistent across the health, physical and environmental hazards.

Comprehensibility is challenging for a single culture and language. Global harmonization has numerous complexities. Some factors that affected the work include:

  • Different philosophies in existing systems on how and what should be communicated;
  • Language differences around the world;
  • Ability to translate phrases meaningfully;
  • Ability to understand and appropriately respond to symbols/pictograms.

These factors were considered in developing the GHS communication tools. The GHS Purple Book includes a comprehensibility-testing instrument in Annex 6.

GHS Labels

Existing Systems Have Labels That Look Different for the Same Product

We know that this leads to worker confusion, consumer uncertainty and the need for additional resources to maintain different systems. In the U.S. as well as in other countries, chemical products are regulated by sector/target audience. Different agencies regulate the workplace, consumers, agricultural chemicals and transport. Labels for these sectors/target audiences vary both in the U.S. and globally.

Example Shown of a Fictitious U.S. Company, ToxiFlam

In order to understand the value of the GHS and its benefits to all stakeholders, it is instructive to look at the different labels for one fictional product. In the U.S. the product, “ToxiFlam”, which has a flash point of 120°F and has an oral LD50 of 275 mg/kg, has different labels for different sectors/target audiences. Label examples as seen in the U.S.A. are shown first, followed by international examples.

U.S. Regulatory Requirements for Workplace Labels are ‘Performance Oriented’

This results at a minimum in a straightforward label that has a product identity, hazard statement and supplier identification. Some products can also have additional labeling requirements depending on their end use.

ToxiFlam
TOXIC COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID AND VAPOR
My Company, My Street, My Town NJ 00000
Tel. 444 999 9999

Many Companies Follow Voluntary ANSI Z129.1 Precautionary Labeling Standard

However, many companies follow the voluntary ANSI Z129.1 Precautionary Labeling Standard for workplace labeling and often use it also for labeling consumer products. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard includes several label elements that are core to the GHS as well as other helpful elements to assist users in safe handling:

ToxiFlam (Contains XYZ)
WARNING! HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED, FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOR
Do not taste or swallow. Do not take internally. Wash thoroughly after handling. Keep away from heat, sparks and flame. Keep container closed. Use only with adequate ventilation.
FIRST AID: If swallowed, do NOT induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
In case of Fire, use water fog, dry chemical, CO2, or alcohol foam. Water may be ineffective.
Flash Point = 120°F. Residue vapor may explode or ignite on ignition; do not cut, drill, grind, or weld on or near the container.

See Material Safety Data Sheet for further details regarding safe use of this product.
My Company, My Street, My Town NJ 00000
Tel. 444 999 9999

Consumer Products and Consumers

ToxiFlam
(Contains XYZ)
WARNING! HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED, FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOR
Do not taste or swallow. Do not take internally. Wash thoroughly after handling. Keep away from heat, sparks and flame. Keep container closed. Use only with adequate ventilation.
FIRST AID If swallowed, do NOT induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Keep out of reach of children
My Company, My Street, My Town NJ 00000 Tel. 444 999 9999

In several countries consumer products are regulated separately from workplace chemicals. In the U.S. the CPSC regulates consumer products. Consumer products have required label elements, but only the signal words are specified. The ANSI labeling standard is often used in developing consumer labels.

Transport and Emergency Responders

For hazardous products being transported, outer containers have required label elements, product identifier and hazard symbols. Transportation requirements are in addition to workplace or end use label requirements.

Flammable liquids, toxic, n.o.s. (contains XYZ)
UN 1992
My Company, My Street NJ 00000

Agricultural Chemicals and Pesticides

In many systems, agricultural chemicals often have special label requirements. In the U.S. the EPA is the agency covering these chemicals. A pesticide product with the same hazards as ToxiFlam would have a label developed using FIFRA requirements. FIFRA has requirements for product identity, chemical identity, signal word, hazard statements, and precautionary measures including first aid.

ToxiFlam
Active/ Inerts: Contains XYZ %
KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN
PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS – HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS:
WARNING: May be fatal if swallowed. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking or using tobacco .
PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL HAZARDS: Combustible. Do not use or store near heat or open flame.
FIRST AID: If swallowed
– Call a poison control center or doctor immediately for treatment advice.
– Have person sip a glass of water if able to swallow.
– Do not induce vomiting unless told to do so by a poison control center or doctor.
– Do not give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.

My Company, My Street, My Town AZ 00000, Tel: 444 999 9999

EPA Est . No. 5840-AZ-1 EPA Reg. No. 3120-280

International Examples

All the previous examples are specific to the U.S. Many companies do business globally. So in addition to the U.S. regulations, these companies would need to comply with the corresponding regulations in the countries to which they export products. Canada and the EU are two existing systems that were considered in the development of the GHS. To illustrate the differences in labeling, it is interesting to examine an EU and Canadian label for ToxiFlam.

European Union Label

Labels in the EU have chemical identity, symbols, and R/S (Risk and Safety) phrases which are hazard statements, precautionary measures and first aid.

ToxiFlam (contains XYZ)
KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN
Harmful If Swallowed. (R22)
Flammable. (R10)
Keep away from food, drink and animal feeding stuffs. (S13)
Wear suitable protective clothing. (S36)
If swallowed, seek medical advice immediately and show this
Container label. (S46)
In case of fire, use water, fog, CO2, or alcohol foam. (S43)
My Company, My Street, My Town XX 00000, Tel: 44 22 999 9999

Canadian Workplace Hazardous Materials Identification System (WHMIS) Label

The WHMIS label requires product identifier, hazard symbol, hazard statement, precautionary measures, first aid, MSDS statement and supplier identification. In addition to these common label elements, WHMIS requires a hatched border.

ToxiFlam
TOXIC COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID AND VAPOR
Do not taste or swallow. Do not take internally. Wash thoroughly after handling. Keep away from heat, sparks and flame. Keep container closed. Use only with adequate ventilation.
FIRST AID: If swallowed, do NOT induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
See Material Safety Data Sheet for further details regarding safe use of this product.
My Company, My Street, My Town NJ 00000, Tel: 444 999 9999

What are the GHS Label Elements?

Some GHS label elements have been standardized (identical with no variation) and are directly related to the endpoints and hazard level. Other label elements are harmonized with common definitions and/or principles.
The standardized label elements included in the GHS are:

GHS Symbols (Hazard Pictograms)

Convey health, physical and environmental hazard information, assigned to a GHS hazard class and category. The GHS symbols have been incorporated into pictograms for use on the GHS label. Pictograms include the harmonized hazard symbols plus other graphic elements, such as borders, background patterns or colors which are intended to convey specific information.

For transport, pictograms will have the background, symbol and colors currently used in the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations.

For other sectors, pictograms will have a black symbol on a white background with a red diamond frame. A black frame may be used for shipments within one country. Where a transport pictogram appears, the GHS pictogram for the same hazard should not appear.

GHS Signal Words

“Danger” or “Warning” are used to emphasize hazards and indicate the relative level of severity of the hazard, assigned to a GHS hazard class and category. The signal word indicates the relative degree of severity a hazard.

“Danger” for the more severe hazards, and “Warning” for the less severe hazards.

Signal words are standardized and assigned to the hazard categories within endpoints. Some lower level hazard categories do not use signal words. Only one signal word corresponding to the class of the most severe hazard should be used on a label.

GHS Hazard Statements

Standard phrases assigned to a hazard class and category that describe the nature of the hazard.
The symbols, signal words, and hazard statements have all been standardized and assigned to specific hazard categories and classes, as appropriate. This approach makes it easier for countries to implement the system and should make it easier for companies to comply with regulations based on the GHS. The prescribed symbols, signal words, and hazard statements can be readily selected from Annex 1 of the GHS Purple Book. These standardized elements are not subject to variation, and should appear on the GHS label as indicated in the GHS for each hazard category/class in the system. The use of symbols, signal words or hazard statements other than those that have been assigned to each of the GHS hazards would be contrary to harmonization.
The Section numbers refer to the sections in the GHS Document or “Purple Book”.

Hazard statements are standardized and assigned phrases that describe the hazard(s) as determined by hazard classification. An appropriate statement for each GHS hazard should be included on the label for products possessing more than one hazard. The assigned label elements are provided in each hazard chapter of the Purple Book as well as in Annexes 1 & 2.

GHS Label Precautionary Statements and Pictograms

Measures to minimize or prevent adverse effects. Precautionary information supplements the hazard information by briefly providing measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects from physical, health or environmental hazards. First aid is included in precautionary information. The GHS label should include appropriate precautionary information. Annex 3 of the GHS Purple Book includes precautionary statements and pictograms that can be used on labels.

Annex 3 includes four types of precautionary statements covering: prevention, response in cases of accidental spillage or exposure, storage, and disposal. The precautionary statements have been linked to each GHS hazard statement and type of hazard. The goal is to promote consistent use of precautionary statements. Annex 3 is guidance and is expected to be further refined and developed over time.

GHS Label Product Identifier (Ingredient Disclosure)

Name or number used for a hazardous product on a label or in the SDS. A product identifier should be used on a GHS label and it should match the product identifier used on the SDS. Where a substance or mixture is covered by the UN Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the UN proper shipping name should also be used on the package.

The GHS label for a substance should include the chemical identity of the substance (name as determined by IUPAC, ISO, CAS or technical name). For mixtures/alloys, the label should include the chemical identities of all ingredients that contribute to acute toxicity, skin corrosion or serious eye damage, germ cell mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, skin or respiratory sensitization, or Target Organ Systemic Toxicity (TOST), when these hazards appear on the label. Where a product is supplied exclusively for workplace use, the Competent Authority may give suppliers discretion to include chemical identities on the SDS, in lieu of including them on labels. The Competent Authority rules for confidential business information (CBI) take priority over the rules for product identification.

GHS Label Supplier Identification

The name, address and telephone number should be provided on the label. The name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer or supplier of the product should be provided on the label.

GHS Label Supplemental Information

Supplemental label information is non-harmonized information on the container of a hazardous product that is not required or specified under the GHS. In some cases this information may be required by a Competent Authority or it may be additional information provided at the discretion of the manufacturer/distributor. The GHS provides guidance to ensure that supplemental information does not lead to wide variation in information or undermine the GHS information. Supplemental information may be used to provide further detail that does not contradict or cast doubt on the validity of the standardized hazard information. It also may be used to provide information about hazards not yet incorporated into the GHS. The labeler should have the option of providing supplementary information related to the hazard, such as physical state or route of exposure, with the hazard statement.

How are Multiple Hazards Handled on GHS Labels?

Where a substance or mixture presents more than one GHS hazard, there is a GHS precedence scheme for pictograms and signal words.

For substances and mixtures covered by the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations, the precedence of symbols for physical hazards should follow the rules of the UN Model Regulations. For health hazards the following principles of precedence apply for symbols:

  • If the skull and crossbones applies, the exclamation mark should not appear;
  • If the corrosive symbol applies, the exclamation mark should not appear where it is used for skin or eye irritation;
  • If the health hazard symbol appears for respiratory sensitization, the exclamation mark should not appear where it is used for skin sensitization or for skin or eye irritation.

If the signal word ‘Danger’ applies, the signal word ‘Warning’ should not appear. All assigned hazard statements should appear on the label. The Competent Authority may choose to specify the order in which they appear.

Is There a Specific GHS Label Format or Layout?

The GHS hazard pictograms, signal word and hazard statements should be located together on the label. The actual label format or layout is not specified in the GHS. National authorities may choose to specify where information should appear on the label or allow supplier discretion.

Example GHS Inner Container Label (e.g., Bottle Inside a Shipping Box)

ToxiFlam (Contains: XYZ)
Danger! Toxic If Swallowed, Flammable Liquid and Vapor
Do not eat, drink or use tobacco when using this product. Wash hands thoroughly after handling. Keep container tightly closed. Keep away from heat/sparks/open flame. – No smoking. Wear protective gloves and eye/face protection. Ground container and receiving equipment. Use explosion-proof electrical equipment. Take precautionary measures against static discharge.
Use only non-sparking tools. Store in cool/well-ventilated place.
IF SWALLOWED: Immediately call a POISON CONTROL CENTER or doctor/physician. Rinse mouth.
In case of fire, use water fog, dry chemical, CO2, or “alcohol” foam.
See Material Safety Data Sheet for further details regarding safe use of this product.
My Company, My Street, My Town NJ 00000, Tel: 444 999 9999

Transport Pictograms are Different in Appearance Than the GHS Pictograms

There has been discussion about the size of GHS pictograms and that a GHS pictogram might be confused with a transport pictogram or “diamond”. So that generally the GHS pictograms would be smaller than the transport pictograms.

GHS Pictograms are Expected to be Proportional to Size of Label Text

Several arrangements for GHS labels are also provided in Annex 7 of the Purple Book. The shipping box has a transportation pictogram. The inner bottles have a GHS label with a GHS pictogram.

For a container such as a 55 gallon drum, the transport required markings and pictograms may be combined with the GHS label elements or presented separately. Pictograms and markings required by the transport regulations as well as GHS label and non-duplicative GHS pictogram are shown on the drum.

A label merging the transportation requirements and the GHS requirements into one label for the fictional product “ToxiFlam” could also be used on a 55 gallon drum.

GHS Risk-Based Labeling

Competent Authorities may vary the application of the components of the GHS by the type of product (industrial, pesticide, consumer, etc.) or the stage in the lifecycle (workplace, farm, retail store, etc.). Once a chemical is classified, the likelihood of adverse effects may be considered in deciding what informational or other steps should be taken for a given product or use setting. Annex 5 of the GHS Purple Book includes a discussion of an example of how risk-based labeling could be considered for chronic health effects of consumer products in the consumer use setting.

Labeling Should Remain on Workplace Containers

Products falling within the scope of the GHS will carry the GHS label at the point where they are supplied to the workplace, and that label should be maintained on the supplied container in the workplace. The GHS label or label elements can also be used for workplace containers (e.g., storage tanks). However, the Competent Authority can allow employers to use alternative means of giving workers the same information in a different written or displayed format when such a format is more appropriate to the workplace and communicates the information as effectively as the GHS label. For example, label information could be displayed in the work area, rather than on the individual containers. Some examples of workplace situations where chemicals may be transferred from supplier containers include: containers for laboratory testing, storage vessels, piping or process reaction systems or temporary containers where the chemical will be used by one worker within a short timeframe.

What is the GHS Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

The (Material) Safety Data Sheet (SDS) provides comprehensive information for use in workplace chemical management. Employers and workers use the SDS as sources of information about hazards and to obtain advice on safety precautions.

The SDS is product related and, usually, is not able to provide information that is specific for any given workplace where the product may be used. However, the SDS information enables the employer to develop an active program of worker protection measures, including training, which is specific to the individual workplace and to consider any measures that may be necessary to protect the environment. Information in a SDS also provides a source of information for other target audiences such as those involved with the transport of dangerous goods, emergency responders, poison centers, those involved with the professional use of pesticides and consumers.

The SDS Should Contain 16 Headings

The GHS MSDS headings, sequence and content are similar to the ISO, EU and ANSI MSDS/SDS requirements, except that the order of sections 2 and 3 have been reversed. The SDS should provide a clear description of the data used to identify the hazards. The GHS Purple Book and the example listed below provide the minimum information that is required in each section of the SDS. Examples of draft GHS SDSs are also provided in Appendix B of this guidance document.

The revised Purple Book contains guidance on developing a GHS SDS (Annex 4). Other resources for SDSs include:
ILO Standard under the Recommendation 177 on Safety in the Use of Chemicals at Work, International Standard 11014-1 (1994) of the International Standard Organization (ISO) and ISO Safety Data Sheet for Chemical Products 11014-1: 2003 DRAFT, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z400.1, European Union SDS Directive 91/155/-EEC.

Minimum Information for an SDS:

1. Identification of the Substance or Mixture and of the Supplier

  • GHS product identifier
  • Other means of identification
  • Recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on use
  • Supplier’s details (including name, address, phone number, etc.)
  • Emergency phone number

2. Hazards Identification

  • GHS classification of the substance/mixture and any national or regional information
  • GHS label elements, including precautionary statements(Hazard symbols may be provided as a graphical reproduction of the symbols in black and white or the name of the symbol, e.g., flame, skull and crossbones)
  • Other hazards which do not result in classification (e.g., dust explosion hazard) or are not covered by the GHS

3. Composition Information on Ingredients (Substance and Mixture)

Substance

  • Chemical identity
  • Common name, synonyms, etc.
  • CAS number, EC number, etc.
  • Impurities and stabilizing additives which are themselves classified and which contribute to the classification of the substance

Mixture
The chemical identity and concentration or concentration ranges of all ingredients which are hazardous within the meaning of the GHS and are present above their cutoff levels

NOTE: For information on ingredients, the competent authority rules for CBI take priority over the rules for product identification

4. First Aid Measures

Description of necessary measures, subdivided according to the different routes of exposure, i.e., inhalation, skin and eye contact, and ingestion. Most important symptoms/effects, acute and delayed; indication of immediate medical attention and special treatment needed, if necessary.

5. Firefighting Measures

  • Suitable (and unsuitable) extinguishing media
  • Specific hazards arising from the chemical (e.g., nature of any hazardous combustion products).
  • Special protective equipment and precautions for firefighters

6. Accidental Release Measures

  • Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency procedures.
  • Environmental precautions
  • Methods and materials for containment and cleaning up

7. Handling and Storage

  • Precautions for safe handling
  • Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities

8. Exposure Controls and Personal Protection

  • Control parameters, e.g., occupational exposure limit values or biological limit values
  • Appropriate engineering controls
  • Individual protection measures, such as personal protective equipment

9. Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Appearance (physical state, color, etc.)
  • Odor
  • Odor threshold
  • pH
  • melting point/freezing point
  • initial boiling point and boiling range
  • flash point
  • evaporation rate
  • flammability (solid, gas)
  • upper/lower flammability or explosive limits
  • vapor pressure
  • vapor density
  • relative density
  • solubility(ies)
  • partition coefficient: n-octanol/water
  • autoignition temperature
  • decomposition temperature

10. Stability and Reactivity

  • Chemical stability
  • Possibility of hazardous reactions
  • Conditions to avoid (e.g., static discharge, shock or vibration)
  • Incompatible materials
  • Hazardous decomposition products

11. Toxicological Information

Concise but complete and comprehensible description of the various toxicological (health) effects and the available data used to identify those effects, including:

  • information on the likely routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact);
  • Symptoms related to the physical, chemical and toxicological characteristics;
  • Delayed and immediate effects and also chronic effects from short- and long-term exposure;
  • Numerical measures of toxicity (such as acute toxicity estimates)

12. Ecological Information

  • Ecotoxicity (aquatic and terrestrial, where available)
  • Persistence and degradability
  • Bioaccumulative potential
  • Mobility in soil
  • Other adverse effects

13. Disposal Considerations

Description of waste residues and information on their safe handling and methods of disposal, including the disposal of any contaminated packaging

14. Transport Information

  • UN Number
  • UN Proper shipping name
  • Transport Hazard class(es)
  • Packing group, if applicable
  • Marine pollutant (Yes/No)
  • Special precautions which a user needs to be aware of or needs to comply with in connection with transport or conveyance either within or outside their premises

15. Regulatory Information

Safety, health and environmental regulations specific for the product in question

16. Other Information Including Preparation and Revision of the SDS

What is the Difference Between the GHS SDS and Existing MSDSs/SDSs?

SDSs are in use globally. So it is useful to have an understanding of the similarities and differences in the existing MSDS/SDS content and format and the GHS SDS content and format. A table comparing MSDS/SDS content/format is provided in Appendix A of this guidance document.

When Should SDSs and Labels be Updated?

All hazard communication systems should specify a means of responding in an appropriate and timely manner to new information and updating labels and SDS information accordingly. Updating should be carried out promptly on receipt of the information that necessitates the revision. The Competent Authority may choose to specify a time limit within which the information should be revised.

Suppliers Should Respond to “New and Significant” Information

Suppliers should respond to “new and significant” information they receive about a chemical hazard by updating the label and safety data sheet for that chemical. New and significant information is any information that changes the GHS classification and leads to a change in the label information or information that may affect the SDS.

How Does the GHS Address Confidential Business Information (CBI)?

Confidential business information (CBI) will not be harmonized under the GHS. National authorities should establish appropriate mechanisms for CBI protection.

GHS established CBI Principles

  • CBI provisions should not compromise the health and safety of users;
  • CBI claims should be limited to the names of chemicals and their concentrations in mixtures;
  • Mechanisms should be established for disclosure in emergency and non-emergency situations

GHS Emphasizes the Importance of Training

The GHS states in Chapter 1.4, Section1.4.9, the importance of training all target audiences to recognize and interpret label and/or SDS information, and to take appropriate action in response to chemical hazards. Training requirements should be appropriate for and commensurate with the nature of the work or exposure.

Key target audiences include workers, emergency responders and also those responsible for developing labels and SDSs. To varying degrees, the training needs of additional target audiences have to be addressed. These should include training for persons involved in transport and strategies required for educating consumers in interpreting label information on products that they use.

References for This Article

  1. ANSI Z129.1: American National Standard for Hazardous Industrial Chemicals-Precautionary Labeling
  2. Australia: Australia Worksafe, National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances (1994)
  3. CPSC FHSA: U.S. CPSC, 16 CFR 1500, FHSA regulations
  4. DOT: U.S. DOT, 49 CFR Part 173, Subpart D
  5. EPA FIFRA: U.S. EPA, 40 CFR Part 156, FIFRA regulations
  6. EU: Council Directive 92/32/European Economic Community, amending for the 7th time, Directive 67/548/European Economic Community, approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions on the classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous preparations
  7. GHS: Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, United Nations, 1st Revised Edition 2005
  8. IATA: International Air Transport Association’s Dangerous Goods Regulations
  9. ICAO: International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport Of Dangerous Goods By Air
  10. IMO: International Maritime Organization’s International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code
  11. Japan: Japanese Official Notice of Ministry of Labor No. 60 “Guidelines for Labeling of the Danger and Hazards of Chemical Substances”
  12. Korea: Korean Ministry of Labor Notice 1997-27 “Preparation of MSDS and Labeling Regulation”
  13. Malaysia: Malaysian Occupational Safety and Health Act (1994), Act 514 and Regulations (1994)
  14. Mexico: Dario Oficial (March 30, 1996) NORMA Oficial Mexicana NOM-114-STPS-1994
  15. NFPA: National Fire Protection Association, 704 Standard, System for the Identification of Fire Hazards of Materials, 2001
  16. NPCA HMIS: National Paint and Coatings Association, Hazardous Materials Identification System, 2001
  17. OSHA HCS: U.S. DOL, OSHA, 29 CFR 1910.1200
  18. WHMIS: Controlled Products Regulation, Hazardous Products Act, Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 122, No. 2, 1987 Hazardous Products Act: Controlled Products Regulations; Consumer Chemical and Container Regulations, 2001 Pest Control Products Act; Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. Health Canada GHS Website
  19. European Union (EU)
  20. Directive 67/548/EEC (consolidated, 7th revision)
  21. Directive 2001/59/EC adapting to technical progress for the 28th time Council Directive 67/548/EEC.
  22. Manual of decisions, implementation for the sixth and seventh amendments to Directive 67/548/EEC on dangerous substances
  23. Directive 1999/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 1999 related to the classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous reparations
  24. Commission Directive 91/155/EEC defining and laying down the detailed arrangements for the system of specific information relating to dangerous preparations (SDS.)
  25. Directive 2001/58/EC (amending Directive 91/155/EEC) defining and laying down the detailed arrangements for the system of specific information relating to dangerous preparations (SDS).

Standards

  1. American National Standard for Hazardous Industrial Chemicals – Precautionary Labeling (ANSI Z-129.1-2000).
  2. American National Standard for Hazardous Industrial Chemicals – MSDS Preparation (ANSI Z400.1-2004).
    ISO 11014-1:2003 DRAFT Safety Data Sheet for Chemical Products.
  3. UN GHS
  4. Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) (“The Purple Book”), United Nations, 2005 First Revised Edition, available online or from United Nations Publications. UN GHS website
  5. UN TRANSPORT
  6. UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations (14th Revised Edition 2005).
  7. UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria, 4th Revised Edition
    USA
  8. OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200.
  9. CPSC Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2051 et seq.) and Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261 et seq.).
  10. (FIFRA) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.).
  11. US EPA Label Review Manual (3rd Edition, August 2003) EPA 735-B-03-001.
  12. Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Law (49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.).
  13. USA websites:
  14. The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication. OSHA.
  15. Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Environmental Protection Agency.
  16. International Standards. U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

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