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Global Harmonised System of Classification

In 2012 Australia adopted the Global Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This is an international standard for chemical labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). The GHS was brought in under Federal work health and safety laws and a transition period of 5 years was set down. As of January 1 2017 the GHS will be implemented. After this date all chemical labels and SDSs must be GHS compliant and all workplace chemicals must be classified according to the new GHS system.
Note: if you have current product that you will store past the 31st of December 2016 it does not have to be relabelled to meet the GHS requirements.

Changes to the chemical labels will include the following:

  • Signal words
  • Hazard statements
  • Precautionary statements
  • Pictograms

The current SDS information headings will remain but the way the information is provided will change. The two main aims of the change are:

  1. Regulatory - reduce duplication, ease of trade, regulatory costs
  2. Improve comprehension of health and environmental hazards for the user

If you want more detail relating to the GHS and its implementation it is available from SafeWork Australia at safeworkaustralia.gov.au