The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals is an international standard designed to ensure that the dangers of handling hazardous chemicals are understood by all participants in their manufacture, transportation, usage, and disposal.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the GHS labeling system is “a logical and comprehensive approach” to:
- Defining the 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).
A typical GHS label includes six standardized elements that warn workers that a chemical container (such as a steel drum) contains a specific chemical that may be hazardous under certain circumstances.
The six elements, as detailed by the Environmental Protection Agency, are:
- Product identifiers: Names or numbers used on a hazardous product label or in a safety data sheet.
- Signal word: One word used to indicate the relative severity of the hazard: “Warning” for less severe hazards; and “Danger” for more severe hazard categories.
- GHS Pictogram(s): A symbol inside a diamond with a red border, denoting a particular hazard class.
- Hazard statement(s): Phrase assigned to each hazard category that describes the nature of the hazard.
- Precautionary statement(s): Phrases that describe recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects.
- Supplier identification: The name, address, and telephone number of the manufacturer or supplier.
In the United States, the chemical industry generates $450 billion per year, with $80 billion of that coming from exports. OSHA anticipates the GHS standard could prevent 43 fatalities and 585 injuries annually, with a net savings of over $500 million a year, according to MSDSonline, an industry resource.
TLP specializes in Warning and Safety Labels, such as GHS labels, which must meet rigorous third-party requirements. Contact us to see how we can TLP can assist you in meeting your safety labeling needs.