The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally agreed-upon standard managed by the United Nations that was set up to replace the assortment of hazardous material classification and labelling schemes previously used around the world. Core elements of the GHS include standardized hazard testing criteria, universal warning pictograms, and safety data sheets which provide users of dangerous goods relevant information with consistent organization. The system acts as a complement to the UN numbered system of regulated hazardous material transport. Implementation is managed through the UN Secretariat. Although adoption has taken time, as of 2017, the system has been enacted to significant extents in most major countries of the world.This includes the European Union, which has implemented the United Nations' GHS into EU law as the CLP Regulation, and United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.
Before the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was created and implemented, there were many different regulations on hazard classification in use in different countries, resulting in multiple standards, classifications and labels for the same hazard. Given the $1.7 trillion per year international trade in chemicals requiring hazard classification, the cost of compliance with multiple systems of classification and labeling is significant. Developing a worldwide standard accepted as an alternative to local and regional systems presented an opportunity to reduce costs and improve compliance.
The GHS development began at the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development by the United Nations,also called Earth Summit (1992), when the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), various governments, and other stakeholders agreed that "A globally harmonized hazard classification and compatible labelling system, including material safety data sheets and easily understandable symbols, should be available if feasible, by the year 2000".
The universal standard for all countries was to replace all the diverse classification systems; however, it is not a compulsory provision of any treaty. The GHS provides a common infrastructure for participating countries to use when implementing a hazard classification and Hazard Communication Standard.
The GHS classification system defines and classifies the physical, health, and/or environmental hazards of a substance. Each category within the classifications has associated pictograms to be used when applied to a material or mixture.
As of the 10th revision of the GHS,substances or articles are assigned to 17 different hazard classes largely based on the United Nations Dangerous Goods System.
The GHS approach to the classification of mixtures for health and environmental hazards uses a tiered approach and is dependent upon the amount of information available for the mixture itself and for its components. Principles that have been developed for the classification of mixtures, drawing on existing systems such as the European Union (EU) system for classification of preparations laid down in Directive 1999/45/EC.The process for the classification of mixtures is based on the following steps:
Companies are encouraged to replace hazardous substances with substances featuring a reduced health risk. As an assistance to assess possible substitute substances, the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) has developed the Column Model. On the basis of just a small amount of information on a product, substitute substances can be evaluated with the support of this table. The current version from 2020 already includes the amendments of the 12th CLP Adaptation Regulation 2019/521.
The GHS generally defers to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and OECD to provide and verify toxicity testing requirements for substances or mixtures.Overall, 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.
For physical hazards, the test criteria are linked to specific UN test methods.
Per GHS, hazards need to be communicated: : 4
Comprehensibility is a significant consideration in GHS implementation. The GHS Purple Book includes a comprehensibility-testing instrument in Annex 6. Factors that were considered in developing the GHS communication tools include:
The standardized label elements included in the GHS are: : 12
The additional label elements included in the GHS are:
The GHS includes directions for application of the hazard communication elements on the label. In particular, it specifies for each hazard, and for each class within the hazard, what signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement should be used. The GHS hazard pictograms, signal words and hazard statements should be located together on the label. The actual label format or layout is not specified. National authorities may choose to specify where information should appear on the label, or to allow supplier discretion in the placement of GHS information.
The diamond shape of GHS pictograms resembles the shape of signs mandated for use by the United States Department of Transportation. To address this, in cases where a pictogram would be required by both the Department of Transportation and the GHS indicating the same hazard, only the Transportation pictogram is to be used.
Safety data sheets or SDS are specifically aimed at use in the workplace. Safety data sheets take precedence over and are intended to replace the previously used material safety data sheets (MSDS),which did not have a standard layout and section format. It should provide comprehensive information about the chemical product that allows employers and workers to obtain concise, relevant and accurate information in perspective to the hazards, uses and risk management of the chemical product in the workplace. Compared to the differences found between manufacturers in MSDS, SDS have specific requirements to include the following headings in the order specified:
The primary difference between the GHS and previous international industry recommendations is that sections 2 and 3 have been reversed in order. The GHS SDS headings, sequence, and content are similar to the ISO, European Union and ANSI MSDS/SDS requirements. A table comparing the content and format of a MSDS/SDS versus the GHS SDS is provided in Appendix A of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) GHS guidance.
Current training procedures for hazard communication in the United States are more detailed than the GHS training recommendations.Training is a key component of the overall GHS approach. Employees and emergency responders must be trained on all program elements, though there has been confusion among these groups of workers in the implementation process regarding which training elements have changed and are required to maintain regulatory compliance.
The United Nations goal was for broad international adoption of the system, and as of 2017, the GHS had been adopted to varying degrees in many major countries. Smaller economies continue to develop regulations to implement the GHS throughout the 2020s.
Toxicity is the degree to which a chemical substance or a particular mixture of substances can damage an organism. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell (cytotoxicity) or an organ such as the liver (hepatotoxicity). By extension, the word may be metaphorically used to describe toxic effects on larger and more complex groups, such as the family unit or society at large. Sometimes the word is more or less synonymous with poisoning in everyday usage.
A safety data sheet (SDS), material safety data sheet (MSDS), or product safety data sheet (PSDS) is a document that lists information relating to occupational safety and health for the use of various substances and products. SDSs are a widely used system for cataloguing information on chemicals, chemical compounds,chemical mixtures. SDS information may include instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a particular material or product, along with spill-handling procedures. The older MSDS formats could vary from source to source within a country depending on national requirements; however, the newer SDS format is internationally standardized.
Hazard symbols or warning symbols are recognisable symbols designed to warn about hazardous or dangerous materials, locations, or objects, including electromagnetic fields, electric currents; harsh, toxic or unstable chemicals ; and radioactivity. The use of hazard symbols is often regulated by law and directed by standards organizations. Hazard symbols may appear with different colors, backgrounds, borders, and supplemental information in order to specify the type of hazard and the level of threat. Warning symbols are used in many places in lieu of or addition to written warnings as they are quickly recognized and more commonly understood.
"NFPA 704: Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response" is a standard maintained by the U.S.-based National Fire Protection Association. First "tentatively adopted as a guide" in 1960, and revised several times since then, it defines the "Safety Square" or "Fire Diamond" which is used to quickly and easily identify the risks posed by hazardous materials. This helps determine what, if any, special equipment should be used, procedures followed, or precautions taken during the initial stages of an emergency response. It is an internationally accepted safety standard, and is crucial while transporting chemicals.
Chemical hazards are typical of hazardous chemicals and hazardous materials in general. Exposure to certain chemicals can cause acute or long-term adverse health effects. Chemical hazards are usually classified separately from biological hazards (biohazards). Main classifications of chemical hazards include asphyxiants, corrosives, irritants, sensitizers, carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, reactants, and flammables. In the workplace, exposure to chemical hazards is a type of occupational hazard. The use of protective personal equipment (PPE) may substantially reduce the risk of damage from contact with hazardous materials.
Dangerous goods, abbreviated DG, are substances that when transported are a risk to health, safety, property or the environment. Certain dangerous goods that pose risks even when not being transported are known as hazardous materials. An example for dangerous goods is hazardous waste which is waste that has substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment.
Chloroprene (IUPAC name 2-chlorobuta-1,3-diene) is a chemical compound with the molecular formula CH2=CCl−CH=CH2. Chloroprene is a colorless volatile liquid, almost exclusively used as a monomer for the production of the polymer polychloroprene, better known as neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber.
The Dangerous Substances Directive was one of the main European Union laws concerning chemical safety, until its full replacement by the new regulation CLP Regulation (2008), starting in 2016. It was made under Article 100 of the Treaty of Rome. By agreement, it is also applicable in the EEA, and compliance with the directive will ensure compliance with the relevant Swiss laws. The Directive ceased to be in force on 31 May 2015 and was repealed by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006.
ADR, formally the Agreement of 30 September 1957 concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road is a 1957 United Nations treaty that governs transnational transport of hazardous materials. "ADR" is derived from the French name for the treaty: Accord relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route). Until 31 December 2020, the treaty was fully named European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road. However, as the word "European" might have given the impression that the treaty was only open for accession to European states, an amendment was decided in the end of 2019.
In electrical and safety engineering, hazardous locations are places where fire or explosion hazards may exist. Sources of such hazards include gases, vapors, dust, fibers, and flyings, which are combustible or flammable. Electrical equipment installed in such locations can provide an ignition source, due to electrical arcing, or high temperatures. Standards and regulations exist to identify such locations, classify the hazards, and design equipment for safe use in such locations.
International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) are data sheets intended to provide essential safety and health information on chemicals in a clear and concise way. The primary aim of the Cards is to promote the safe use of chemicals in the workplace and the main target users are therefore workers and those responsible for occupational safety and health. The ICSC project is a joint venture between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) with the cooperation of the European Commission (EC). This project began during the 1980s with the objective of developing a product to disseminate the appropriate hazard information on chemicals at the workplace in an understandable and precise way.
The HAZMAT Class 2 in United States law includes all gases which are compressed and stored for transportation. Class 2 has three divisions: Flammable, Non-Flammable/Non-Poisonous, and Poisonous. This classification is based on the United Nations' Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods - Model Regulations. In Canada, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, or TDGR, are also based on the UN Model Regulations and contain the same three divisions.
The regulation of chemicals is the legislative intent of a variety of national laws or international initiatives such as agreements, strategies or conventions. These international initiatives define the policy of further regulations to be implemented locally as well as exposure or emission limits. Often, regulatory agencies oversee the enforcement of these laws.
Hazard statements form part of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). They are intended to form a set of standardized phrases about the hazards of chemical substances and mixtures that can be translated into different languages. As such, they serve the same purpose as the well-known R-phrases, which they are intended to replace.
Hazard pictograms form part of the international Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Two sets of pictograms are included within the GHS: one for the labelling of containers and for workplace hazard warnings, and a second for use during the transport of dangerous goods. Either one or the other is chosen, depending on the target audience, but the two are not used together. The two sets of pictograms use the same symbols for the same hazards, although certain symbols are not required for transport pictograms. Transport pictograms come in wider variety of colors and may contain additional information such as a subcategory number.
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires employers to disclose toxic and hazardous substances in workplaces. This is related to the Worker Protection Standard.
Chemical storage is the storage of controlled substances or hazardous materials in chemical stores, chemical storage cabinets, or similar devices.
Pipe marking is the used to identify the contents, properties and flow direction of fluids in piping. Marking assists personnel to identify the correct pipes for operational, maintenance or emergency response purposes. Pipes are marked by labels, typically color coded, to identify the use, contents and flow direction.
Chemical safety includes all those policies, procedures and practices designed to minimize the risk of exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals. This includes the risks of exposure to persons handling the chemicals, to the surrounding environment, and to the communities and ecosystems within that environment. Manufactured chemicals, either pure or in mixtures, solutions and emulsions, are ubiquitous in modern society, at industrial, occupational and private scale. However, there are chemicals that should not mix or get in contact with others, as they can produce byproducts that may be toxic, carcinogenic, explosive etc., or can be dangerous in themselves. To avoid disasters and mishaps, maintaining safety is paramount.