Health & Safety – Changes to Chemical Labelling and Packaging

Globally Harmonised System and CLP Regulations

Have you made the appropriate changes to how you assess and make sure your employees are aware of the changes to the phrasing, pictograms and safety data sheets in chemical labelling and packaging?

The UN Globally Harmonised System aims to make all classification etc. of substances harmonised the world over to reduce confusion and aid risk reduction measures.

This system was implemented in the EU by the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures Regulation (CLP) which came into effect 20 January 2009, subject to a lengthy transitional period. Prior to this harmonisation, substances and preparations were classified, labelled and packaged according to the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2009 (CHIP).

Most of the onus is on the Suppliers with regard to CLP but end-users will need to be aware of the changes in phrasing, pictograms and safety data sheets.

Regulations update for some hazardous substances

Update on CLP, CHIP and the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.

Chemical Labelling and Packaging
Hazard statements

A hazard statement is a phrase that describes the nature of the hazard in the substance or mixture. A hazard statement will be determined by the application of the classification criteria.

Examples of hazard statements include:

  • Causes serious eye damage
  • Toxic if swallowed
  • Toxic to the aquatic life with long lasting effects
  • May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled

It replaces the ‘risk or R-phrase’ used in CHIP.

Precautionary statements

A precautionary statement is a phrase that describes recommended measure(s) to minimise or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous substance or mixture due to its use or disposal.

Examples of precautionary statements include:

  • Wear eye protection
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke when using this product
  • Avoid release to the environment
  • In case of inadequate ventilation wear respiratory protection

Suppliers determine the appropriate precautionary statements (usually no more than six) based on the required hazard statements.

It replaces the ‘safety or S-phrase’ used in CHIP.

Signal words

CLP also introduces two new signal words: ‘Danger’ and ‘Warning’.

If the chemical has a more severe hazard, the label includes the signal word ‘Danger’; in case of less severe hazards, the signal word is ‘Warning’.

Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are required by the REACH Regulation.

SDS are key documents in the safe supply, handling and use of chemicals. They should help to ensure that those who use chemicals in the workplace do so safely with risk of harm to users or the environment.

A SDS will contain the information necessary to allow employers to do a risk assessment as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). The SDS itself is not an assessment. However it will describe the hazards helping employers assess the probability of those hazards arising in the workplace.

SDS are a must if a chemical is hazardous and is being supplied for use at work, whether in packages or not. SDS are also needed if your chemical is not classified as hazardous but contains small amounts of a hazardous substance(s).

SDS replaces Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). They must include 16 set headings;

  1. Identification
  2. Hazard(s) identification
  3. Composition/information on ingredients
  4. First-aid measures
  5. Fire-fighting measures
  6. Accidental release measures
  7. Handling and storage
  8. Exposure controls/personal protection
  9. Physical and chemical properties
  10. Stability and reactivity
  11. Toxicological information
  12. Ecological information
  13. Disposal considerations
  14. Transport information
  15. Regulatory information
  16. Other information
Hazard pictograms

Hazard pictograms alert us to the presence of a hazardous chemical.  The pictograms help us to know that the chemicals we are using might cause harm to people or the environment.  The CLP hazard pictograms are very similar to those used in the old labelling system and appear in the shape of a diamond with a distinctive red border and white background.  One or more pictograms might appear on the labelling of a single chemical.

September - picture 1


September - picture 2

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