Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

In the ever-expanding global market, there must be differences between nations to create economic success. Where there may not be differences, however, is warnings. Rather, warning signs and regulations for hazardous materials, first and foremost chemicals, must become universal and universally understood to increase the safety of workers in the global village. Indeed, what is needed is a global harmonized system or GHS. That is why the U.N has suggested a model for a GHS that has left people with a few questions we will seek to help answer here.



What would a GHS do?

A GHs would introduce a standard system for the labeling of hazardous chemicals for every country around the world. This would include anything produced as a pharmaceutical, consumer product, or industrial material. 

What sort of Hazards would be looked for in a GHS

A GHS would seek to make certain hazards of using any material known to the consumer and this list is extensive. It includes but is not limited to Explosives and flammable materials, toxins and poisons, and oxidizing materials to name a few.

When are countries thinking of implementing a GHS?

Lots of countries already have! Many western nations such as Canada, the U.S and most of Europe simple changed their regulatory systems slightly if at all to fit the new suggestions put in place by the U.N to build a GHS. 

Why do we need a GHS?

A GHS is necessary as previously stated for worker safety and for clarity of communication of hazards, though it has a few other advantages when adopted as well. Due to the resulting clarity of communication, it makes trade easier, increases regulatory efficiency, reduces costs, and much more. 



A GHS example, WHMIS

A predecessor to a GHS adopted by a major nation is known as WHMIS and is used in Canada. The acronym is for Workplace Hazardous Material Information System and the system has been in place since 1988.

This is employed on every product and container that contains any sort of toxic or harmful chemical, whether it causes simple irritation or is downright poisonous. The system makes use of three layers, a symbol, a framing shape, and a color. Every different combination of the options of these three items means an easily understandable different risk is taken when using the material or product.