UK Seeking Comments on GHS Regulation

Aug. 22, 2007
The United Kingdom's Health and Safety Commission (HSC) is seeking comments on the proposed European regulation on the classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals, otherwise known as the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The regulation, which currently is being negotiated by European Union member states, eventually will replace the existing classification and labeling system known as the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations (CHIP).

Stakeholders are invited to review the proposed regulation and respond to the HSC with any comments, which will be taken into consideration once detailed negotiations with European member states begin in mid-September.

The European Commission formally launched the proposed regulation on June, 27. The regulation is a major step forward in achieving a global system for identifying the hazards in chemicals and advising users of those hazards through labels, the HSC said.

Although many of the duties to classify, label and package hazardous chemicals correctly will remain the same, the regulation will also introduce:

  • Some new scientific criteria to classify hazards.
  • Some new hazard pictograms or symbol.
  • New hazard and precautionary statements for the labels that will alert users to the dangers present.

In the United States, proponents of GHS have been urging OSHA – one of the federal agencies charged with GHS implementation – to adopt the standard as soon as possible. OSHA tentatively is looking at 2008, the international phase-in start date, as the start of implementation in the United States. However, in order to adopt GHS, the agency would have to make changes to the Hazcom standard as well as its material safety data sheets (MSDS) requirements.

Further details of the proposed draft European Regulation can be found on the HSE Web site at

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