Compliance with the GHS Labels for Chemicals


Compliance with the GHS Labels for Chemicals


The WHS Regulations introduced a new system of labelling hazardous chemicals. The new system is based on the United Nations’ Globally Harmonised System (GHS) which is intended to align chemical classification and labelling globally. 

The transition period for the new laws ends on 31st December 2016. This means that workplaces now have less than two years* to comply with the new laws. 

What does this mean for your business? 

If you manufacture or supply chemicals: 

You need to classify chemicals according the GHS and have Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and labels which comply with the GHS. 

If you use chemicals: 

All workers who handle chemicals need to be trained and understand how to recognise the hazard information and pictograms on the new labels and how to read an SDS. 

*Note that some chemical suppliers have already transitioned to the new system and are using the new GHS labels, this includes chemicals supplied in Victoria which has not adopted the WHS laws. Chemicals imported from overseas may also have GHS labels. If your workplace has chemicals with the GHS labels, your workers need training NOW! 

What does a GHS label look like? 

The GHS labels look very different to labels we are used to seeing on chemical containers. See an example to the right of a GHS chemical label with the basic components. 

GHS pictograms 

There are nine pictograms, with some symbols being similar to those on the existing DG class diamonds. Shown below are the GHS pictograms with the type of hazard they represent. 

Reference: Safe Work Australia 

Do you need help to comply? 

Safety Action can help you with: 

  • A FREE fact sheet about the Hazardous Chemicals Labels. Email for the fact sheet. 
  • Training for your workers in the GHS. See our training calendar on pages 10 & 11 for public information sessions or ask us about specially tailored one-hour or two-hour briefings on the GHS classification and labelling or half-day chemical safety training workshops.  *The next 2 hour briefing on Hazardous Chemicals is on Monday 13th April 2015 at 10am- 12pm * 
  • A review of your chemical management system and practices. 
  • Advice on transitioning to the GHS. 
  • Upgrading your existing Material Safety Data Sheets to GHS compliant SDSs. 


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