The United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS) have released the 7th revision of the GHS book. This new edition of GHS includes both amendments and some newly added content and guidance relating to the classification and labelling of chemical substances and mixtures.
Background to GHS
GHS is an international guidance system intended to harmonise the classification and labelling of hazardous chemicals in order to improve workplace and environmental safety, to ensure consumer protection, and to facilitate international trade.
The official text of the GHS – which is also known as the ‘Purple Book’ – was first published and implemented by the United Nations (UN) in 2003, and is amended every two years. All amendments are prepared and officially approved by the UN’s Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNCETDG/GHS). These amendments take into consideration the latest scientific achievements by the UNSCEGHS.
Whilst the GHS is an internationally agreed-upon system, each jurisdiction has adopted different building blocks and requirements on labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) based on its unique conditions. As such, organisations who supply products to different countries must ascertain the specific legislative requirements of the market to ensure chemical regulatory compliance.
What’s new in the 7th Revision?
The new edition of GHS contains a number of notable amendments, including:
- A revised criteria for categorisation of flammable gases within Category 1;
- A number of amendments intended to clarify the definitions of various health hazard classes;
- Additional guidance to extend the coverage of Section 14 (which covers Transport Information) of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to all bulk cargoes transported under instruments of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), regardless of their physical states;
- Revised and further rationalised precautionary statements in Annex 3;
- A new example in Annex 7 addressing labelling of small packaging with fold-out labels.
The official UN document which outlines all of the amendments from the 6th Revision to the 7th Revision of GHS can be found here.
Where can you get the new version of GHS from?
The 7th Revised Edition of the Purple Book is now available for purchase in both paperback book and PDF format at the official UN shop.
Update: 16th August 2017
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