Globally harmonized system for the classification and labeling of chemicals

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The system harmonized global classification and labeling of chemicals ( GHS , English Globally Harmonized System of Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Chemicals ) of the United Nations is a worldwide uniform system for classifying chemicals and their labeling on packages and in safety data sheets . It is updated regularly, so that the current status must be consulted whenever the GHS is referred to.

On the basis of this labeling system, after intensive preparation for Europe, a separate, slightly modified implementation of the UN model regulations was developed: Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 , also known as the CLP regulation, came into force on January 20, 2009 and took over the substance lists for classification and labeling in accordance with Directive 67/548 / EEC . Since December 1, 2010, substances have been classified and labeled according to the CLP regulation. This has been mandatory for substances since December 1, 2012. Remaining stocks labeled in accordance with Directive 67/548 / EEC could be sold until December 1, 2012. Mixtures , previously called "preparations", have also been allowed to be classified and labeled according to the new system since December 1, 2010, but have only had to do so since June 1, 2015. Mixtures that were still labeled according to Directive 1999/45 / EC, were allowed to be sold until June 1, 2017.


A globally valid classification method with uniform hazard pictograms and texts is intended to minimize the dangers to human health and the environment during the manufacture, transport and use of chemicals or hazardous substances worldwide.

The previously applicable labeling methods for hazardous substances in the EU will be replaced; in the GHS take the place of

  • Hazard symbols with their hazard designations the hazard pictograms ; possibly with a common signal word ("Caution" or "Danger"),
  • R-phrases the H-phrases (Hazard Statements) and additional EUH-phrases (special hazards) ,
  • S-sentences the P-sentences (Precautionary Statements) ,

The texts are coded with three-digit numbers . The letters stand for the type of information and in the H and P sentences the first digits of the number give a grouping according to the type of hazard or type of safety measure.

See H and P phrases for the complete list.

Changes compared to the previous hazardous substance labeling

The hazard symbols used in Annex II of Directive 67/548 / EEC are sometimes used in the hazard pictograms . All previous symbols have been graphically changed and stand out from the previous square symbols with an orange background due to the red bordered diamond with a white background. New additions are the “gas cylinder” for compressed substances, the “ thick exclamation mark symbol ” and the symbol for the health hazard for health hazards, except for toxicity (poisonous) and eye and skin irritation (corrosive effects) . The " St. Andrew's Cross " (symbol with the code letter Xn or Xi) will no longer be used in the future and will be replaced by the hazard pictograms "Corrosive effect", "Health hazard" or the "thick exclamation mark symbol".

Since the GHS is a different concept from previous EU law, it cannot be integrated into existing systems or transferred directly. Some of the fabrics are also labeled according to other rules; so z. B. the classification as "toxic" different criteria than in the previous EU law.

Structure of the GHS

The type of hazard is represented by the hazard classes. The grading of the hazard within a hazard class is based on the subdivision into hazard categories . For example, flammable liquids are divided into three hazard categories depending on their flash point . For each hazard class including category that on a fabric, it will be one or more hazards (H-sets, Hazard Statements ) assigned to a particular hazard pictogram and optionally also a signal word - either risk ( danger ) or Attention ( warning ) - to And a series of safety measures (P-phrases, precautionary statements ).

Overview: EU hazard symbols, UN / GHS hazard pictograms, UN / ADR hazard symbols

EU labeling
(Directive 67/548 / EEC)
GHS labeling / CLP regulation UN Rec.Tr.  / ADR (G)
Danger symbol Hazard designation Code letter pictogram description Coding Signal word Hazard Class (G) Hazard Classification (G)
Hazard E.svg Explosive E. GHS-pictogram-explos.svg Exploding bomb GHS01 Danger (1) (2) Unstable explosive substances, mixtures and products containing explosive substance (s), self-reactive substances and mixtures, organic peroxides (1) (3) Dangclass1.svg Class 1
Placard 5.2.svg Class 5.2
Hazard F.svg Extremely flammable F + GHS-pictogram-flamme.svg flame GHS02 Danger / Warning (1) (2) Flammable , self- heating , self- reactive, pyrophoric , water -reactive, organic peroxides (1) (3) DOT hazmat class 2.1.svg Class 2.1
Label for dangerous goods - class 3.svg Class 3
DOT hazmat class 4.1.svg Class 4.1
DOT hazmat class 4.2.svg Class 4.2
Label for dangerous goods - class 4.3.svg Class 4.3
Placard 5.2.svg Class 5.2
Hazard F.svg Highly
Hazard O.svg Oxidising O GHS-pictogram-rondflam.svg Flame over a circle (1) (3) GHS03 Danger (1) (2) Inflammatory ( oxidizing ) DOT hazmat class 5.1.svg Class 5.1
no equivalent GHS-pictogram-bottle.svg gas bottle GHS04 Caution Gases under pressure , compressed , liquefied , deep-frozen liquefied , dissolved gases DOT hazmat class 2.2.svg Class 2.2
Hazard C.svg corrosive (5) C. GHS-pictogram-acid.svg Caustic effect GHS05 Danger / Warning (5) Corrosive to metals , skin corrosive , serious eye damage (5) Danger-class-8.svg class 8
Hazard T.svg Very toxic (7) T + GHS-pictogram-skull.svg Skull and crossbones GHS06 danger Acute toxicity (7) Dangclass6 1st svg Class 6.1
DOT hazmat class 2.3 - (Alt 2) .svg Class 2.3
Hazard T.svg Toxic (7) T
Hazard X.svg Lovely (5) Xi GHS-pictogram-exclam.svg thick exclamation
sign, (8)
GHS07 (8) (4) (5) (8th) no direct equivalent
Hazard X.svg Harmful (4) Xn GHS-pictogram-silhouette.svg Health hazard GHS08 Danger / Caution various health hazards
Hazard N.svg Dangerous for the environment N GHS-pictogram-pollu.svg Environment (1) (9) GHS09 Warning / Danger (1) (9) Hazardous to the aquatic environment (9) UN transport pictogram - pollution.svg Label for environmentally hazardous substances
no direct equivalent Dangclass6 2nd svg Class 6.2
Dangclass7.svg Class 7
ADR hot.svg Hot
Source: UNECE, Guidelines for the application of the GHS Ordinance Federal Environment Agency 2007, ADR
(G)The hazard classes (pictogram) and additional hazard categories expressly correspond as far as possible to the dangerous goods classes 1–9 of the UN Recommodations and ADR (as well as RID , IMDG , DGR , ADN and others) - it is an essential goal of the GHS to divide the previously separated dangerous goods and transport- specific dangerous goods to harmonize labels on a uniform legal basis. In individual cases there may be deviations in the classification according to UN-GHS and UN-Rec.Transp./ IMO / ICAO - IATA / EU-GG. Systems such as US NFPA 704 and CA WHMIS are also being adjusted or replaced.
(1) partly hazard categories without pictogram and / or without signal word
(2)Signal word Attention for minor hazard categories
(3)"Flame" is generally omitted if there is a risk of explosion, but also two pictograms for categories of special risks ( organic peroxides type B, self-reactive substances and mixtures type B)
(4)the hazard categories classified as harmful to health (previously as less toxic ) only with a thick exclamation mark symbol
(5) Corrosive / irritating to skin and eyes and corrosive to metals are consistently marked differently: the former with double labeling as "caustic effect" and "thick exclamation mark symbol", signal word danger , the latter only this pictogram with the signal word caution
(7)the distinction between very toxic / toxic or fatal (acute toxicity category 1/2) / toxic (category 3) has been abandoned in principle
(8th) The "thick exclamation mark symbol" is used for the sole or additional identification of various categories, may also be omitted, signal word depending on the context
(9)Hazardous to the aquatic environment with the signal word attention , damage to the ozone layer without pictogram and with the signal word danger

Structure of the GHS label

The following sample reflects the requirements for a label according to GHS: GHS Diethylzink.png

Development of the GHS

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) gave the impetus for the development of the GHS with Agenda 21 adopted in 1992 . In Chapter 19 of Agenda 21 is u. a. a harmonization of the classification and labeling of substances is required. The implementation plan adopted at the follow-up conference Rio + 10 in Johannesburg , South Africa , in September 2002 calls on the countries to apply the GHS by 2008.

In December 2002 the content of the GHS was approved by a UN commission.

On September 3, 2008, the EU Commission decided to adopt large parts of the GHS and submitted the draft to the European Council for approval. On December 16, 2008, the latter issued Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council (CLP Regulation) and published it in the Official Journal of the European Union on December 31, 2008, so that the Regulation on January 20 It came into force in 2009, 20 days after publication. As a result of its publication as a regulation, it has become directly applicable EU law and does not need to be transposed into national law.

As of the end of 2018, GHS has been implemented in 72 countries.

GHS and occupational safety

The classification and labeling for substances and mixtures also affect occupational safety issues . This affects, among other things, risk assessments, lists of hazardous substances, labels, safety data sheets , packaging, operating instructions , instructions , internal markings and the storage of chemicals.

According to the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances , companies should use substitutes with a lower health risk instead of hazardous substances. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) developed the GHS column model to help assess which substitute is suitable . With the help of less information about the products in question, this table can be used to assess the substitutes.

See also


Web links

Commons : GHS pictograms  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. Original version of Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 of December 16, 2008 on the classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures ... , accessed on August 29, 2015 . In: OJ. L 353 of December 31, 2008, p. 1, 1,355 pages; Current consolidated version with all previous changes, see under literature .
  3. BAG : Labeling chemical products correctly according to GHS (PDF; 1.7 MB) . April 2012, p. 2.
  4. Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Appendix II of Directive 67/548 / EEC (pdf).
  5. Lit. UBA Guide, 2.2 Labeling, p. 19.
  6. Comparison between EU and GHS Criteria Human Health and EnvironmentS. (PDF) DG ENTR G1 REACH, June 8, 2005, archived from the original on June 21, 2006 ; accessed on April 10, 2009 (English, comparison of the EU / GH concepts; draft: “ The comparison is based on the GHS ST / SG / AC.10 / 30, 2003 as amended by ST / SG / AC.10 / 32 / Add. 3, 9 March 2005 ”).
  7. Art. 2 Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 Definitions 4., see lit. UBA Guide, p. 20.
  8. GHS hazard pictograms in various formats ,
  9. Lit. UBA Guide, 2.2 Labeling, p. 18ff.
  10. ^ The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication. In: Hazard Communication. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, United States Department of Labor , June 10, 2009, accessed October 15, 2009 .
  11. Le SIMDUT. In: Système d'Information sur les Matières Dangereuses Utilisées au Travail. Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail Québec, accessed October 15, 2009 (French).
  12. a b Art. 27 Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 Rules of priority for hazard warnings , see Lit. UBA Guide, Table 2.5, p. 20.
  13. sample from reference UBA guide, p. 66; with regard to GHS Information required on a GHS label and Annex 6 Examples of arrangements of the GHS label elements ( pdf , UNECE ); Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 TITEL III Hazard communication through labeling Chap. 1 Content of the identification label Art. 17 ff.
  14. UNECE: GHS implementation , accessed on January 7, 2019.
  15. ^ German Social Accident Insurance eV (DGUV): DGUV Information 213-034 - GHS-Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Hazardous Substances. Retrieved February 25, 2020 .
  16. ^ Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA): GHS column model for searching for substitute materials. Retrieved February 25, 2020 .