Get the Upper Hand on GHS Label Compliance

Get the Upper Hand on GHS Label Compliance

Simple SDS-to-label compliance cross-checks, expert design tips and more.

OSHA required businesses to transition to Globally Harmonized System (GHS) standards for chemical safety and hazard communication in 2016. While most employers are now informed and working within the new standards, it can still be difficult to find the exact information needed to create compliant GHS labels.

For the average facility, if a primary container label is damaged or illegible, creating new ones that are GHS-compliant are often a pain for safety and compliance teams. Yet, GHS compliance is critical if the chemicals will be distributed, transported or even transferred between facilities.


This article covers a brief overview of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and how to find required GHS label information, use SDS to quickly check GHS compliance and design effective and compliant GHS labels.

A Brief Overview of Safety Data Sheets and GHS Compliance

Safety Data Sheets are a summary document covered in OSHA standard 1910.1200(g). They include a wealth of information about the physical, health and environmental hazards of each chemical as well as how to safely store, handle and transport them.

The information included in SDS is organized into 16 sections for easy navigation. The 16 sections are further organized in the following manner:

Sections 1-8: General Information. For example, identifying the chemical, its composition, how it should be handled and stored, exposure limits and what to do in a variety of emergency situations.

Sections 9-11: Technical and Scientific Information. The information required in these particular sections of the safety data sheet is very specific and detailed, including physical and chemical properties, stability, reactivity and toxicological information.

Sections 12-15: Information Governed by Non-OSHA Agencies. This includes environmental information, disposal considerations, transportation information and other regulations not indicated anywhere else on the SDS.


This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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