GHS efficiently transmits information by harmonizing how labels are to be formatted and which specific information must be included to effectively alert users about a product’s hazards. Manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors in GHS-compliant countries fulfill the requirements for GHS Labels by including these informational elements:
- Product Identifier – A unique product name that allows users to identify the hazardous product. GHS labels contain the same product identifier as listed on the SDS sheet; some countries even opt to include the chemical identities and ingredients of a chemical mixture as part of the product identifier on a label, but only when it significantly affects the hazardous classification of the product.
- Supplier Identifier – Information addressing the identity of the manufacturer or supplier of the hazardous product; this can include their name, address, and telephone number, for example.
- Hazard Statements – Prescribed phrases for the several hazard classes and categories that work to describe the nature of the associated hazard in an easily understood manner
- Signal Words – The terms ‘Danger’ or ‘Warning’ are used to alert users about the level of severity of the hazards associated with the product
- Precautionary Statements – Statements describing immediate cautionary measures one should take to both prevent and/or reduce the risk of adverse effects as a result of accidental exposure, mishandling, or improper storage of hazardous products
- Pictograms – Graphical compositions that utilize specific colours, shapes, borders, and symbols, which are combined to effectively convey important information pertaining to a hazardous product and its classifications.
The UN’s, International Labour Organization (ILO) recognized that hazard communication requirements may vary on a nation by nation basis and as such the required informational elements of GHS labels may deviate from those listed above. Labels may also be tailored to better alert different target audiences such as workers in the workplace, consumers, emergency responders, and those who transport hazardous products.