of the United States GDP
GHS stands for “The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.” It is a system created by the U.N. and adopted worldwide for governing the communication of hazardous materials during production, integration, or distribution. Paragon leads the field in GHS compliance solutions, providing the innovative tools that competing in the global arena requires.
If your company works with hazardous materials, you know that your business is subject to strict safety regulations. One of the most important safety requirements is maintaining proper labels that identify each chemical and define the dangers they could pose to employees or the environment.
While each country used to set and enforce their own laws and monitoring systems for chemical labeling requirements, frequent international trade made differing guidelines too dangerous and inefficient. Language barriers alone could prevent important safety concerns from being passed on to the next chemical handler. When multiple classifications, labels, safety data sheets, and authoritative actions were used for the exact same product, the industry became vulnerable to confusion, inadequate protection for workers and consumers, an increased risk to the environment, and slower shipping and processing times.
Inconsistent communication was creating intimidating regulatory burdens on companies producing and shipping chemicals, and a less user-friendly strategy for global trade. To facilitate safe shipping and manufacturing across international lines, GHS standards were developed as a logical, comprehensive, and most importantly, harmonized approach to the chemical industry.
Establish the personal and environmental risk of hazardous chemicals
Standardize hazard classifications and create a universal process to compare available chemical data to this defined hazard criteria so companies can easily understand the risks of certain compounds
Communicate identified hazards and methods for protection against them on labels and safety data sheets that use a standard, globally-understood design
Monitor international trade of chemicals, update chemical mandates, and impose fines on those who do not comply with stated safety standards
Using different labels that follow different guidelines for the exact same product forces companies to employ expensive “translations” from one system to the next, or risk injuries or product loss if a label is misunderstood. Following GHS guidelines, products can now be shipped internationally with less risk of incident regardless of the language or handling protocols used locally.
How? All chemical labels must now be created using easily-understood phrases and icons that even a consumer with no chemical handling education could recognize. The U.N. distributes these standards among each country’s governing bodies, who are then tasked with enforcing the regulations with their chemical manufacturing and shipping businesses. Universal label design is an effective way to forge clear communication across all of these former legal, linguistic, and cultural barriers.
In the United States, GHS regulations fall under the domain of four agencies: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
of the United States GDP
of all United States exports
of the world's chemicals
To be compliant, a GHS label must follow an approved standardized layout and appear on every chemical barrel being shipped or product being manufactured. Combining global hazard classification methods and simple icon elements, GHS labels are used to warn workers and consumers about the effects of each chemical.
Confused about which pictogram your product needs? Our user-friendly software has a full library of high-resolution pictograms and will help you design the required layout. Paragon also supplies BS5609 labeling substrate that are IMDG compliant and resistant to fading and tearing from abrasion, seawater, or sunlight.
Two sets of pictograms are required to be used in chemical production: one for labeling chemical barrels and workplace hazards, and an additional set for use during the transport and distribution of these products. Both sets use the same symbols for the same hazards, but transport pictograms are typically more varied, with several different colored inks and a larger amount of written information.
While GHS pictograms do not have a regulated minimum size, they are expected to be proportional to the size of the label text. Typically, this will make the GHS pictograms smaller than transport pictograms. If your company isn’t working with professional printing software, you can download official files from OSHA. For a broader overview of GHS labeling requirements, go to OSHA.gov or download their label briefing sheet.
The rate of worksite injuries in the chemical industry has been dropping steadily since the introduction of GHS mandates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Chemical Council, chemical manufacturing companies experience 47% less employee injuries than the overall manufacturing industry. Fatalities from fires decreased 35% in 2014 alone.
in injuries from explosion or fire since 1995
injuries than overall manufacturing
in employee fatalities from fires in 2014
However, rigorous safety standards and handling protocols can only do so much. The mandates are meaningless if compliance isn’t met. As the chemical industry continues to grow and expand, safety regulations are sure to become more strictly enforced. All companies are required to comply with updated GHS directives by June 2016. Is your company prepared to fulfill these directives? Do you have a cost-effective, efficient method for labeling compliance?
Paragon has created a comprehensive GHS solution for companies like you, who ship, store, distribute, or use chemicals on a daily basis. Our turn-key package of damage resistant labels, and intuitive labeling software is not only guaranteed compliant with GHS mandates, but is far more efficient and user-friendly than previous safety methods. Using our system, there is no more need to try to line up labels with pre-printed diamonds, look up pictograms, or change out color cartridges. Our software leads you step-by-step to create your label, and our media gets the job done with no fuss or costly waste.
Printing in color on sturdy labels that can resist smudging, tearing, and even seawater doesn’t have to be expensive or labor-intensive. Every customer who has used our BS5609 labels- even those who are not required to comply with GHS standards- has raved about their durability and exceptional color quality.
Contact a GHS expert to learn how our printing software and superior labels and inks can keep your workers safe and save you money.
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