Anticipated Benefits of Adopting GHS
Implementation of GHS
The most important benefit of GHS is enhanced health and environmental protection through greater clarity and consistency in information provided to people who may be exposed to chemicals. GHS is designed to provide clear, consistent label messages to chemical handlers and users, emergency first responders, and the public. Signal words, pictograms, and hazard statements will have the same meaning in all settings, domestically and internationally.
In the United States, there are four key agencies that regulate chemical hazard classification and communication. Each of these agencies currently has its own system, with classification criteria and use of symbols, signal words, and hazard statements differing between the agencies. For example, the signal word “caution” has a different meaning on non-pesticide consumer product labels than it has on pesticide labels, and products with the same hazards may bear different signal words. This can cause confusion and result in increased risk. The standardization of these elements under GHS will promote better understanding, thereby increasing protection. Consistency of hazard communication on chemical labels will also help emergency first responders more easily and accurately identify what hazards are present in emergency situations.
A common system for identifying and classifying hazards and communicating them on labels and safety data sheets will also enhance global protection.
- Internationally recognized label language will be translated into many languages through the chemical safety cards produced by the International Programme on Chemical Safety.
- The International Organization for Standardization and the World Health Organization are revising their standards and criteria to be consistent with GHS.
- GHS also provides a framework for developing countries to implement strategies for sound management of chemicals without having to develop a new system of their own.