DuraLabel Label Printers & Supplies

This blog features the latest news and information about the DuraLabel label printer, DuraLabel software and supplies for the DuraLabel. We'll also include information about related products and services, as well as general tips for creating and using labels and signs. Thanks for taking a look at our blog. We hope to see you here regularly.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The wave of the future - GHS labeling has arrived

If you're just getting wind of GHS, you're not alone. Millions are behind the curve on this one, but they have no one to blame but themselves. The information is now out there. You just have to do a little research on your own to understand what it is and how you're affected. 

Now is as good a time as any to play catch up on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS). Let's start by doing a little history on this subject. GHS was first spawned by the chemical manufacturing community around the world. These interested parties have been working to reduce safety issues and the costs involved with chemical shipping and storing for the last 50 years. 

In 1992, the United Nations (UN) began writing global standards for chemical labeling and then published the current version of GHS in 2003. Over those 10-plus-years the UN sought feedback from all nations and worked to incorporate those ideas into a single document all nations would be happy with. 

Within a matter of months, countries around the globe began to adopt elements of GHS as their own. Today there are over 50 countries who now require chemicals to be labeled to GHS standards. 

What are GHS labeling standards? They're really pretty simple. However, you need to keep in mind each country applies GHS a little differently. The UN-GHS standards for labeling requires: 1)  Product Identifier & Codes, 2) Signal Word (Danger or Warning), 3) Pictograms, 4) Hazard Statements, 5) Precautionary Statements and 6) Supplier information.

You're probably asking yourself, where do I get this information? Don't worry. That's pretty simple too. All of the information you need to label for GHS compliance can be found on the new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) that comes with your chemical packaging. The majority of what goes on the label is already written for you in the first 2 sections. If your chemical packaging didn't come with a properly formatted SDS, call the manufacturer and request one or visit their website. Many chemical manufacturers already offer the new SDS for their chemicals. If you don't see one listed for the U.S., check out the SDS for the U.K. or get the English version for the EU. Both will have the information you need. 

Remember, each country handles GHS a little differently. So do a little research on your cargo's shipping or storage destination by visiting their government website for importation. If GHS information is not covered, contact a shipping representative in the destination country and send them a sample GHS label to review. 

Contact DuraLabel at 1-800-788-5572 for GHS labeling software and tools. When it comes to GHS, we're ahead of the curve.


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