What is the GHS?
The GHS is a single internationally agreed system of chemical classification and hazard communication through labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Currently different countries have different systems for classification and labelling of chemical products. These different systems make regulation of this hazard difficult, impose an additional burden on business and can impact on safe use at the workplace level. The GHS is published by the United Nations and includes 'harmonized' criteria for the ready classification and understanding of physical, health and environmental hazards.
What will change?
Australia will implement the GHS for workplace hazardous chemicals (both substances and mixtures) from 1 January 2017. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation introduced the GHS to replace current systems used for classifying workplace chemicals by standardising information on labels and SDS (formally called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)).
The New GHS Compliant Labels
The New GHS Compliant Labels
The new labels must include six parts:
- Product Identifier
- Signal Word
- Hazard Statements
- Precautionary Statements
- Supplier Identification
Depending on the hazard severity of the chemical, each label will include at least one of these nine pictogram warning symbols (click chart to enlarge):
This change will not only promote a safer work environment but also make American companies globally competitive since many other countries around the world already require GHS labeling.
What will be difficult for chemical manufacturers and users is the fact that they may not be able to use just one template for multiple products. Every pictogram needs to have a red border and each one needs to be filled in with only one of the nine designated symbols.
For example, they cannot use a preprinted label with nine empty red diamonds and then imprint only the symbols on-site or even "cross out" the ones that do not apply. Those who are used to printing variable information in black may now need a color printer to handle those changes.
Who will be impacted?
The Work Health and Safety Regulations impose a duty on manufacturers and importers of chemicals supplied to a workplace to determine if a chemical is hazardous, and to correctly classify the chemical according to the GHS (3rdRevised Edition 2009).
Even workplaces in states that have not adopted the model WHS legislation will still be affected by the introduction of the GHS. Commonwealth persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) will need to ensure that all hazardous chemical labels and SDS are in the new GHS format by 1 January 2017.
We can help you!
Peacock Bros. has many years experience providing printing solutions to the chemical industry. Contact us today to discuss how your business can implement the new labelling requirements as painlessly as possible.