ICOMIA global update

Kirsten Bird is the communications manager at ICOMIA
Kirsten Bird is the communications manager at ICOMIA

The symbols have completely changed, as well the format of the labels and the SDS’s of Chemical products (eg: paints, cleaners, solvents, fuel, oil, etc). It is therefore vital that all affected persons are aware of the changes.

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals defines and classifies the hazards of products containing chemical compounds which can harm the environment and user, and communicates health and safety information related to these chemicals on labels and material safety data sheets.

GHS provides guidance on classifying pure chemicals and mixtures according to its criteria or rules.

The goal of GHS is that the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world.

An international team of hazard communication experts has been involved in the development of the GHS classification.

Currently many different countries have different systems for classification and labelling of chemical products. In addition, several different systems can exist even within the same country.

This situation has been expensive to regulate and enforce, costly for companies who have to comply with many different systems, and confusing for workers who need to understand the hazards of a chemical in order to work safely.

NOTE: Compliance with GHS changes is required from 1 June 2015.

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