- What is the difference between GHS and CLP?
- GHS is a global framework introduced by the UN. CLP is the European implementation of GHS, introduced in January 2009 with a gradual migration path. CLP stands for Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures (Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008).
- What is the difference between GHS and REACH?
- REACH is Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 passed by the European Parliament and Council on 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). This was the first step towards harmonisation taken in the EU. Subsequent initiatives such as CLP (the EU version of GHS) align with and complement REACH.
- What is the purpose of GHS?
GHS aims to:
- - enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an internationally comprehensible system for hazard communication;
- - provide a recognized framework for countries without an existing system;
- - reduce the need for testing and evaluation of chemicals; and
- - facilitate international trade in chemicals whose hazards have been properly assessed and identified on an international basis.
- Which countries does it affect?
- In principle all countries may be affected as GHS is global in scope. Local authorities will decide how to apply the various elements of GHS based on local needs and target audiences.
- When does it become law?
GHS becomes law when it is implemented in a specific country/region. The implementation timelines vary from one region to another and, in some cases, may also differ for pure substances and mixtures. The following table gives some timeline examples for key regions:
Deadline for pure
United States of
- What gases does it affect?
- GHS affects all chemicals, i.e. in solid, liquid and gaseous forms, both as pure substances and as mixtures. In some geographies, only workplace chemicals are in scope, while in others GHS also includes consumer chemicals.
- Is GHS implemented in the same way in all geographies?
- No, it is not. Some countries/regions may decide not to implement some elements of GHS (for example in the US the environmental hazard classification is not implemented because this is already governed by other regulations). In addition, GHS has already been revised five times, with the result that different countries/regions may have implemented a different version of GHS (for example, the EU has implemented GHS rev. 4 while the US refers to rev. 3).
- What has Messer done to ensure compliance?
- Messer has put a global system in place to ensure all of its products are correctly classified and the relevant information is provided to customers through appropriate package labels and safety datasheets. This means that Messer is already ahead of the implementation timelines in certain regions of the world.
- How does Messer's compliance help me?
We provide you with reliable and accurate information about the products we supply (through package labels and safety datasheets). This means you have all the information you need to:
- - carry out your own risk assessment;
- - set up appropriate management procedures;
- - issue safety instructions;
- - implement the necessary engineering controls; and
- - provide your staff with personal protective equipment.
All of which will help you ensure you are using our products safely.
- How will the change affect my business in general?
- You need to review and align your handling and safety-related processes to reflect the information we provide on package labels and safety datasheets for the products we supply.
- Will I need to buy new equipment (e.g. for a different type of cylinder)?
- If a product you are using has been reclassified under the new GHS criteria, you may need to change some equipment. For example, this could be the case if a mixture that was previously ‘non-flammable’ is now classified as ‘flammable’ under GHS or vice-versa.
- Which of my processes will GHS affect, e.g. health and safety, distribution, warehousing, etc.?
- All processes where the hazard classification of a product is relevant can be affected by GHS. Typical examples include transport, storage, use and delivery of product information. A proper risk assessment helps to identify the processes that need to be reviewed.
- How else can Messer help me get up to speed on the new classifications?
- Additional information about GHS classification of Messer products can be found on our pure gas finder service and on the gas mixture finder service. Detailed information about CLP - the European version of GHS - is available here.