Globally Harmonized System (GHS)
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) lays down a globally agreed method for classifying chemicals and mixtures based on their hazards. It also discusses how the hazard and safety information should be communicated on a Label and in a Safety Data Sheet. GHS is aspirational, not compulsory and has a building block approach. Different global regions are expected to adopt GHS in slightly different ways.
In Europe, GHS has been adopted as Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP). Many parts of GHS have been adopted, but not all (for example Acute Toxicity 5 is part of GHS but not CLP). CLP has some additional requirements, beyond that in GHS, for example the requirement to list lower level sensitisers. CLP also requires an inventory of hazardous substances is compiled, irrespective of quantity used.
The deadlines to comply with CLP (hazards assessment and labelling) are:
- Substances: 1st December 2010
- Mixtures: 1st June 2015
Safety Data Sheets are controlled under REACH Annex II. This has been revised to take account of CLP, but most notably now includes an additional 47 sub headings. The SDS requirements are complex and change over time.
From December 2010 an Annex I style Safety Data Sheet is required. For substances, this should include classification information under CLP and DSD (Dangerous Substances Directive). For mixtures, this should be the classification under DPD (Dangerous Preparations Directive). Where hazardous ingredients are declared for mixtures, the information about the ingredients should be both DSD and CLP. If a supplier wants to give CLP classification information early, this can be done in Section 15 of an Annex I type safety data sheet.
From June 2015 a revised Annex II style data sheet is required. For both substances and mixtures this should contain CLP data.
There are many additional requirements and a lot of work ahead.