Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

Published: | Updated: February 20, 2019

Definition - What does Globally Harmonized System (GHS) mean?

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Hazard Communication is an internationally-accepted standard for the identification of health, physical and environmental hazards in the workplace.

GHS defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and lists health and safety information on labels and safety data sheets. It implements a uniform set of rules for classifying hazards, and format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) around the world. The GHS is compiled by an international team of hazard communication experts.

Safeopedia explains Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is an internationally agreed-upon system for the classification and labeling of chemicals that was created by the United Nations beginning in 1992. It was designed to replace the different classification and labeling standards used in different countries by introducing consistent criteria on a global level.

The GHS is a complex system with data obtained from independent tests, literature, and practical experience, although it does not include testing requirements for substances or mixtures. Substances or articles are assigned to 9 different hazard classes based on the United Nations Dangerous Goods System. The GHS is subject to additions and changes.

The GHS includes directions for application of the hazard communication elements on the label of the storage containers/tanks. It specifies the signal word, pictogram and hazard statement to be used for each hazard, and for each class within the hazard. The GHS hazard pictograms, signal words and hazard statements are required to be located together on the label

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