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GHS Labeling: More Than Just a Picture

Posted on 8/7/2012 by James Griffin

Q. What kind of information is required on the new GHS labels?
A. As many EHS professionals are now aware, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) added the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) to its regulations on March 26, 2012.
Because of OSHA’s adoption of the GHS, there are broad revisions of the Hazard Communication Standard, or HazCom Standard. The GHS will change the way we classify hazardous chemicals, create labels for shipments, and generate Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). In this newsletter, we will focus on successfully creating compliant GHS labels.
GHS Label Information
There are six required elements that must go onto a GHS label. All GHS labels must have:
  • A product identifier (as used on the SDS);
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party;
  • A signal word;
  • Pictograms;
  • Hazard statements; and
  • Precautionary statements. [29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1)]
The first two elements are fairly self-explanatory. Under most circumstances, they will usually just consist of the chemical name and the chemical manufacturer.
To figure out the last four elements, you will have to use Appendix C of the HazCom Standard at 29 CFR 1910.1200. This appendix outlines most of the information that must be included on the label.
To label a product, you must first know what it is and what its properties are. Once you have classified the chemical according to the new GHS classification criteria in 29 CFR 1910.1200, you simply turn to the page in Appendix C that matches the chemical classification, and add the noted information.
For instance, let us say that we have a chemical that is a Flammable Liquid, Category 3. I would turn to 1910.1200, Appendix C.4.19 Flammable Liquids. Here is some of the information we are told to include on the label:
  • Signal word: “Warning”
  • Pictogram: Flame
  • Hazard statement: “Flammable liquid and vapor”
  • Precautionary statement: “Use only non-sparking tools”
For a given chemical, you must include information from Appendix C for all hazards that were identified during classification.
Implementation of these new GHS rules is required by June 1, 2015 (except that distributors may continue to ship products labeled under the old HazCom system until December 1, 2015). [29 CFR 1910.1200(j)]
Be sure your employees understand the new GHS classification criteria, labels and pictograms, and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) with Lion’s Hazard Communication Online Course. All employees must be trained by December 1, 2013!

Tags: GHS, HazCom, marks and labels, osha

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