30/04/2003

Harmonizing chemical classifications across the globe

People who work with chemicals, exporters and importers, and the environment
are the big beneficiaries of a new Globally Harmonized System of Classification
and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). After more than a decade of work, the system
was adopted in December 2002 in Geneva under the umbrella of the
Interorganization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IMOC).

The goal of GHS is to protect people from the mismanagement of chemicals by
classifying them according to their hazards and communicating their hazards via
a labeling system based on pictograms and safety data sheets. GHS will form the
basis for national programs for the safe management of chemicals worldwide.

Globalized management of chemicals is expected to lead to safer conditions for
people and lessen chemical impacts on the environment, while allowing the
benefits of chemical use to continue. Harmonization should also facilitate
international trade by promoting greater consistency in the national
requirements for chemical hazard classification that companies engaged in
international trade must meet. Although the system does allow for some
differences in implementation between countries, the ultimate goal is to have
one chemical hazard communication system used throughout the world.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)