What Are GHS Labels?
Did you know that 41 US workers once died in a single bout of workplace chemical exposure? This is tragic, but it also is completely preventable.
When you create and update GHS labels for each hazard, you protect your employees against these threats. Read on to learn what GHS labeling is, why it’s important, and what the core requirements are.
What Are GHS Labels?
Global Harmonized System (GHS) labels exist to classify and label chemicals. The UN originally created this system to ensure that people would have an easy way to internationally communicate how they must be handled. OSHA adopted this method in 2012 and aligned it with pre-existing US chemical labeling systems.
The idea is that those who are shipping and working with chemicals don’t need to guess the ways that they should safely handle them.
Primary vs. Secondary GHS Labeling
There are two core types of GHS labels: primary and secondary. Primary chemical containers are the bottles, cans, cylinders, drums, etc. that you receive from the manufacturer. These labels are put on the containers by the manufacturer and can never be removed or altered.
Secondary chemical containers hold chemicals after they have been removed from the primary containers. They include spray bottles, jugs, and jars that you might find around a lab or workplace. GHS labels must also comply with OSHA requirements, but those in the workplace can create their own labels with updated information.
What Are the GHS Label Requirements?
There are six core parts to any GHS label. They are heavily standardized to ensure that people can read them quickly. These parts are:
- A signal word that indicates the level of hazard (“danger” is the most severe, but “warning” is a less severe indication to handle with care)
- Hazard pictograms that visually identify what hazard a product poses
- Manufacturer information about the source of the substance
- Precautionary and first aid statements to describe preventative and response measures to take with the chemical
- Hazard statements to describe the exact nature of the danger
- The name and identifiers of a product
These parts are going to be on GHS chemical labels regardless of your location.
Why Are The Labels Important?
While a lot of GHS information is also going to be on required safety data sheets, these labels are important because those working with the chemical can immediately see them.
There is no way to pass them by without checking the information. This keeps employees safe because they always will have updated information about handling chemical containers.
You also will find your institution subject to hefty fines without appropriate GHS labeling. This can cause great financial strain on your business that is 100% avoidable. Combined with the lawsuits you may face if an employee is injured, these fines can drive your organization to the ground.
Optimize Your Hazard Communications Today
Now that you know the basics of GHS labels and why they’re important, it’s time to get your hazard communications documents in order.
We’re committed to helping you meet OSHA requirements when it comes to SDS and GHS documentation. Contact us to request more information on how KHA can help your company.