GHS Label Requirements
While the initial December 1, 2013 training deadline for the revised Hazard Communications Standard (HCS) has come and gone, companies are still responsible for providing employees with on-going safety data sheets and GHS label training.
With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to provide a recap of the six elements that are now required on a GHS label.
In conjunction with updating your company’s hazard communications program, and updating all of your safety data sheets to meet the new 16 Section GHS format, familiarizing yourself and your workers with the new label layout and information requirements presents one of the biggest challenges of the revised HCS.
To help you and your employees become more familiar with the new GHS label sections, we've designed this complimentary GHS Pictogram Poster Download.
The Six Standard Elements of a GHS Label:
- Product Identifier: The Product Identifier section of the GHS label indicates how the chemical is identified. This can be (but is not limited to) chemical name, code number or batch number. The manufacturer, importer or distributor can decide the appropriate product identifier. Please Note: The same product identifier must be both on the label and in Section 1 of the SDS.
- Signal Word: A single word used to indicate the relative severity of hazard and to alert the reader to the potential hazard on both the label and the SDS sheet. The GHS includes two signal words: “Danger” for more severe hazard categories and “Warning” for less severe hazard categories.
- Hazard Statement(s): A phrase assigned to each hazard category that describes the nature of the hazard. Examples of hazard statements are: “Harmful if swallowed,” “Highly flammable liquid and vapor” and “Harmful to aquatic life.” GHS hazard statements are based in part on current EPA requirements and are generally very similar, but there are some differences.
- Precautionary Statements: A phrase that describes recommended actions that should be taken in order to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical or improper handling or storage.
There are four types of precautionary statements: prevention (to minimize exposure); response (in case of accidental spillage or exposure emergency response, and first-aid); storage; and disposal.
- Supplier Information: The name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer or supplier of the substance should always be included on the GHS label.
- Pictogram: In accordance with the revised HCS, all labels need to contain at least one of eight OSHA designated pictograms. Used to communicate the hazards of a chemical, these graphic symbols that consist of a red, square frame set at a point with a black hazard symbol on a white background.
GHS Label Management:
While the employer is not responsible for updating labels on shipped containers, it is important to note that all employers are responsible for maintaining the labels on secondary containers, including but not limited to tanks, totes, and drums.
In order to minimize health risks and avoid penalties, employers should make sure that labels on chemicals remain legible and ensure that pertinent information (such as hazards and directions for use) do not get defaced or removed.