Globally Harmonized System of classification and labelling of chemicals (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.

Who will be impacted?

Chapter 7 of the WHS Regulations imposes duties upon manufacturers and importers of chemicals supplied to a workplace to determine if the chemical is hazardous, and to correctly classify the chemical according to the GHS. Similar duties apply to persons conducting a business or undertaking, who are end users of hazardous chemicals, to ensure that chemicals supplied to them are appropriately labelled with the GHS.

After 1 January 2017, SDS and labels must be GHS compliant although inventory already in the supply chain, labelled under the Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances [NOHSC: 1008(2004)] may continue to be consumed.




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