Based on our experience, the following are Frequently Asked Questions that we receiveCLP, GHS OSHA about GHS. This article answers the most asked questions about GHS with a What? Where? Why? When? & How? type approach.


What does GHS stand for?

GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of chemicals.

What is GHS?

GHS is a set of guidelines for ensuring the safe production, transport, handling, use and disposal of hazardous materials.

What will be the biggest cost to US businesses?

The biggest costs to businesses will be to;

  • Reclassify all chemicals using GHS criteria
  • Re-author all Safety Data Sheets in GHS formats and produce GHS formatted labels
  • Train workers to recognize and identify the new format of SDS and labels. OSHA anticipates the revised standard will prevent 43 fatalities and 585 injuries annually, with a net annualized savings of over $500 million a year.


Where did GHS Originate?

GHS was developed by the United Nations.

Where is GHS implemented?

To date, 67 countries have adopted GHS. Many countries are in the process of implementing GHS or consulting on the implementation of GHS in their national regimes.

In the APAC area Japan, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand have implemented GHS. The EU adapted GHS in 2008.The U.S. officially adopted GHS on March 26, 2012.

The hope is that every country will incorporate the tenets of the GHS into their own chemical management systems with the goal of making the international sale and transportation of hazardous chemicals easier, as well as, making workplace conditions safer for all employees exposed to chemical hazards.


Why was GHS Developed?

Many countries already have regulatory systems in place for chemical classification and hazard communication. In addition, several different systems can exist even within the same country. This situation has been expensive for governments to regulate and enforce, costly for companies who have to comply with many different systems, and confusing for workers who need to understand the hazards of a chemical in order to work safely.

Benefits of GHS?

  1. Promoting regulatory efficiency
  2. Facilitating trade- GHS will reduce costly and time-consuming activities to comply with multiple classification and labeling systems
  3. Promoting more consistency in regulation and reducing non-tariff barriers to trade easing compliance
  4. Providing improved & consistent hazard information
  5. Encouraging the safe transport, handling and use of chemicals
  6. Promoting better emergency response to chemical incidents
  7. Reducing the need for animal testing (If animal testing for REACH is an area of interest you may want to read about Alternative testing methods )


How will GHS affect US companies?

The most noticeable changes brought by GHS for most organizations will be changes to safety labels and safety data sheets.

For example, the GHS refers to safety data sheets as SDSs, dropping the M from material safety data sheets (or MSDSs) as most American companies are used to. The GHS also standardizes the content and formatting of SDSs into 16 sections with a strict ordering. Labels also look quite different, with 6 standardized elements that include specific language depending upon chemical classification.

And Finally..

What Can you do now to get compliant with GHS?

H2 Compliance offer a broad range of services to help companies comply with the CLP regulation in the European Union and GHS worldwide. These include, updating and compiling SDS’s, Drafting Labels, General Consulting,CLP notification of substances and talking you through your companys options and steps forward.

Contact us today to make your change over to GHS fast and cost effective by trusting the experts at H2.