What Are the GHS Labeling Requirements?


Quick Answer

Labeling requirements for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS, include a pictogram, a hazard statement, signal words and a precautionary statement, as of 2015, reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The revised Hazard Communications Standard stipulates the modifying of former labeling.

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Transport pictograms have a variety of colors and symbols, depending on the transported materials, according to OSHA. In other sectors, pictograms have red borders with one of eight required and one optional symbol in a white background in the center. For instance, the symbol of a flame specifies flammables, self-heating, self-reactives, organic peroxides and pyrophorics. The symbol of an exclamation mark designates narcotic effects, skin sensitizers, acute toxicity, and irritants to the eyes and respiratory tract. The signal words consist of either "danger" to denote more serious hazards or "warning" to denote less serious hazards.

Hazard statements describe the nature or degree of a hazard, notes OSHA. For instance, a hazard statement might say something like, "Fatal if swallowed," or "May be harmful if swallowed." Precautionary statements detail recommended measures when people are exposed to hazardous chemicals due to improper handling or storage. For instance, a precautionary statement might say, "If swallowed, rinse mouth and immediately call a poison control center."

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