Within the past years, one of the most important changes for companies dealing with chemical products or hazardous substances has been the introduction of the classification and identification of chemical products according to the GHS System. Suppliers and purchasing companies must comply and stay up-to-date with new legal requirements concerning work safety, packaging guidelines or environmental protection.
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals (or GHS) is a worldwide standard system designed by the United Nations. The new updated system for the manipulation of hazardous material has been first introduced in 2013 and is since updated every two years. Every existing regulations or monitoring laws have been one after the other replaced and unified with the new GHS system.
To ease your work, ecratum prepared for you an overview of the most important aspects and innovations introduced with the GHS. You can download here the PDF document for free.
The system serves as recommendation made by the UN and is implemented and applied by each state. Within the EU, the regulation EG Nr. 1272/2008, also known as the CLP regulation, settles the concrete implementation of the GHS system.
- The GHS serves as standard and should facilitate the international goods circulation and trading
- The system should help ensure a higher work safety and better environmental protection
- It unifies the identification (Safety Data Sheet included) but also of the evaluation criteria /Hazard classification)
- The GHS introduces a new and easy system where none was pre-existing.
Since 01.06.2015, all chemical products and mixes have to be classified and identified according to the newest version of the GHS.
|Before the GHS introduction||With the GHS|
WARNING: for light hazard categories
DANGER: for heavy hazard categories
The 28 hazard classes, graded in 5 different hazard categories, replace the preexisting 15 risk factors. The classes are divided into 3 different ranges:
- Flammable gases
- Flammable aerosols
- Oxidising gases
- Gases under pressure
- Flammable liquids
- Flammable solids
- Self reactive substances
- Pyrophoric liquids
- Pyrophoric solids
- Self-heating substances
- Water reactive chemicals that could emit flammable gas
- Oxidising liquids
- Oxidising solids
- Organic peroxides
- Corrosive to metals
- Acute toxicity: oral, dermal, inhalation
- Skin corrosion / irritation
- Serious eye damage / irritation
- Sensitisation – respiratory / skin
- Germ cell mutagenicity
- Toxic to reproduction
- Specific target organ toxicity (single)
- Specific target organ toxicity (repeated)
- Aspiration hazard
- Hazardous to the aquatic environment
- Hazardous to the ozone layer
- H2xx codes : Physical hazards
- H3xx codes: Health hazards
- H4xx codes: Environmental hazards
- P1xx codes: General
- P2xx codes: Prevention
- P3xx codes: Response
- P4xx codes: Storage
- P5xx codes: Disposal
The following documents are concerned with the GHS updates
(Note: this list is not exhaustive and may not be complete)
- Safety data sheets
- Hazardous substances registers
- Operating instructions
- Packaging labels
- Risk assessments
More information about GHS (EN)
- United Nations Economic Commission für Europe
- European Commission Enterprise and Industry
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