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GHS of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

GHS Agsafe The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is mandatory in most states and territories in Australia since 1 January 2017.


What is GHS

The GHS is a single internationally agreed system of chemical classification and hazard communication through labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). It uses a common set of pictograms, signal words, hazard and precautionary warnings to universalise classifications.

The GHS includes harmonised criteria for the classification of:

• Physical hazards;

• Health hazards;

• Environmental hazards.

Benefits of the new system include:

• An internationally recognized system to protect human health;

• Easier transport and storage compliance across borders;

• Potential cost savings in evaluation testing with the move from testing against multiple classification standards to just one.

What are the changes?

The main changes from the previous system include:

• Signal words: there are now just two words to describe their hazard level – Danger or Warning. ‘Danger’ is used for a severe or a significant hazard, ‘Warning’ is used for a less severe hazard.

• Hazard statement: the hazard statement communicates the chemical’s nature and severity, using a straightforward language.

• Precautionary statement: Precautionary statements describe the recommended measures that should be taken to minimise or prevent harmful effects resulting from exposure, or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical.

• Safety Data Sheets (SDS): the current Australian 16-header format continues to apply.

Pictograms: there are nine hazard pictograms in the GHS which represent the physical, health and environmental hazards associated with hazardous chemicals.

Agsafe and ChemCert have worked on a GHS poster that sums up the new wording and images used in the GHS system.

Download the Agsafe/ChemCert GHS poster.