What to Know About GHS Hazardous Chemical Signs

Our GHS Hazardous Chemicals Signs Compliance – Resource Bulletin will help you understand some of the rules and regulations regarding sign requirements for this international chemical identification system.

Topics include:

  • Manufacturer labels
  • Workplace labels and signs
  • Transport labels and placards
  • Links to relevant regulations

Click the image to open this bulletin as a pdf file.

Bulletin Overview

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is an international system for standardizing the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. It was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). A number of countries, including the United States, have contributed to and adopted the GHS guidelines published in what is known as the UN “Purple Book.” The GHS itself is not a regulation but provides countries with the building blocks to develop or modify existing national regulations that address the classification and communication of chemical hazards. Its goal is a global chemical safety standard for a global economy to ensure that employers, employees and the public are provided with adequate, practical, reliable, and comprehensible information on the hazards of chemicals, so that they can take effective, preventative, and protective measures for their health and safety.

With the adoption of the GHS standard by the U.S., the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the regulatory agency responsible for implementing the required changes in chemical classification and labeling for chemical manufacturers and workplaces that utilize these chemicals in their daily operations. The application of the GHS will enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an internationally comprehensible system. These regulations appear in OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012).

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for implementing the GHS standards for the transport of hazardous chemicals in the United States via aircraft, rail car, marine vessels, and motor vehicles. These regulations are stipulated in the DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The HMR applies to all persons involved in the packaging, loading, and transport of hazardous materials.