Chemicals and the GHS
A new system of chemical classification and hazard communication is coming into effect.
It is called the GHS, which stands for Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. This new system replaces the previous Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances.
What you need to know
This information below provides you with an easy to understand summary of the GHS.
Transition to GHS 7
On 1 January 2021, Australia will begin a two-year transition to the 7th revised edition of the GHS (GHS 7).
During the transition, manufacturers and importers may use either GHS 3 or GHS 7 to prepare classifications, labels and SDS for hazardous chemicals. From 1 January 2023, only GHS 7 may be used.
GHS 7 introduces several changes to classification, labelling and safety data sheet (SDS) requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals. The key changes between GHS 3 and GHS 7 are:
- new hazard categories and classes for:
- desensitised explosives
- pyrophoric gases
- chemically unstable gases
- non-flammable aerosols
- updated precautionary statements.
In addition to these changes, the definition of ‘hazardous chemical’ will be clarified to ensure it captures all Category 2 eye irritants. Chemicals can be further sub-categorised as Category 2A and 2B, but this is not mandatory in Australia.
For more detailed information visit GHS 7 transition.
Agriculture and veterinary chemicals (AgVets)
For AgVets to be GHS compliant, they need:
- an SDS based on GHS classification
- a label which incorporates GHS hazard and precautionary statements based on GHS classification which are not already incorporated in the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) approved label (refer to www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au for additional information).
AgVet labels do not require signal word or hazard pictograms.
All veterinary medicines listed in schedule 8 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP) or The Poisons Standard, does not require GHS labelling.
Similarly, veterinary medicines listed in schedule 4 of The Poisons Standard that are in a form and packaging consistent with direct administration to animals, for example - small containers, tablets, syringes and chewables will not require GHS labelling.
- GHS 7 Transition
- GHS 7 guidance material
- GHS 7 info sheet
- Resources to support the transition to GHS 7
- Labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals code of practice
- Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace code of practice
- Preparation of safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals code of practice
- How to manage work health and safety risks code of practice
- Our GHS What you need to know fact sheet
- Our GHS in brief poster
- Six simple steps to become GHS ready
- Safe Work Australia's Understanding the SDS fact sheet
- Safe Work Australia's Understanding hazardous chemical labels fact sheet
- The GHS Third Edition (The Purple Book)
- Hazardous chemical information list