Key Principals of the GHS Explained

By adopting the Global Harmonized System (GHS), countries are hoping to take advantage of several benefits.  The benefits of globally consistent standards include:

  • Promoting regulatory efficiency
  • Facilitating trade
  • Reducing cost of compliance
  • Providing consistent and clear hazard information to employees
  • Encouraging the safe transport, handling and use of chemicals
  • Promoting better emergency response to chemical incidents
  • Reducing the need for animal testing


In order to better understand how the conversion to GHS rules will decrease economic investment and increase safety compliance, it’s important to understand the major functions of the GHS. The two major principles of the GHS are:

1. Unifying the classification of hazardous chemicals according to the GHS format

GHS provides guidance on classifying pure chemicals and mixtures according to its criteria or rules.

2. Communicating the hazards and precautionary information using GHS Safety Data Sheets and labels:

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) – The GHS SDS has 16 sections

Labels – With the GHS system, standardized hazard statements, signal words and symbols will appear on the label according to the classification of that chemical or mixture.


This lack of global consistency has made it expensive for regulatory agencies and corporations to ensure the safety of employees. Embracing GHS principals will establish a foundation for  compliance and conformity.



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