If your products have a global footprint, you are probably already familiar with the acronyms and can easily tell the difference.  If not, they may be a bit confusing at first glance, however they all have a common root – GHS.

GHS stands for Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, a set of harmonised criteria for classification and labelling of dangerous/hazardous chemicals developed by the United Nations : http://www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/ghs/ghs_welcome_e.html. CLP is maybe the term you are most familiar with.

Harmonised, yet different

With “harmonised” in the name it could be expected to be the same throughout the world. Unfortunately, the truth is closer to “similar to a great extent” rather than “fully aligned and identical”. It is a set of building blocks, from which a country joining the growing GHS family can create its own implementation.

This is how things progressed throughout the world, resulting in chemical regulations which have many common points and yet still remain diverse enough to require a thorough examination before a product can be placed on the global market.

Different GHS faces

Experienced GHS globetrotters could easily spend a whole evening listing out different GHS implementations, then easily diving into a discussion on nuances and debating common solutions.

We will only list  some of them here, to give you a sense of the journey which anyone can be a part of, if they decide to go global with their product (please note the list below indicates only selected main relevant legal acts):

  • European Union – here we can list two main legal acts: EU CLP and REACH;
  • United States – Hazard Communication Standard;
  • Canada – Hazardous Products Regulation;
  • Brazil – set of ABNT NRB standards;
  • Korea – Industrial Safety and Health Act (ISHA), Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TCCA), K REACH and Standard KSM 1069:2006
  • China – 28 GHS compulsory national standards.

And we still have not set foot in a huge number of places.

How to?

Finding your way through different GHS jurisdictions can be challenging, especially if the final destination is compliance of a chemical product. Understanding the possible derogations/exemptions and similarities can be very helpful in achieving that.

H2 Compliance has dedicated staff to deal with GHS related issues. We also offer consultancy on such matters, including generation of tailored reports outlining requirements for your product.

Contact us today for guidance.