Gradient Webinar Series: The Globally Harmonized System Of Classification & Labeling of Chemicals (GHS)

News & Events

January 1, 1970


The Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is a hazard identification (classification) and communication (labeling) framework that is currently being implemented around the world.  In the US, the implementation deadline is June 1, 2015 as promulgated in the OSHA Hazcom rule.[1]  Although a key objective of GHS is to “harmonize” hazard communication, it is not a regulation in itself and different countries or jurisdictions have modified and implemented  GHS principles based on their specific needs.  Furthermore, several elements of the GHS framework are subject to scientific interpretation.   It is therefore not uncommon for a chemical to be classified and labeled differently across countries and jurisdiction.  This poses several business challenges, including inconsistent communication of hazards to the consumer, as well as issues related to protecting confidential business information.

Despite these challenges, the GHS implementation offers unique opportunities for companies to build a comprehensive understanding of their chemical and product portfolio.  This can be leveraged into a robust product stewardship program that integrates GHS activities with emerging market demands for “sustainable” products.  Several non-profit organizations have taken this to heart and have developed “green” classification and labeling systems that are based largely on GHS principles.

The objectives of this two-part webinar series are to: (1) provide an overview of the GHS and key technical and business challenges associated with its implementation; and (2) provide an overview of business opportunities associated with the GHS implementation.  Overall, this webinar series is intended to explore the scientific, legal, and business implications brought on by the widespread implementation of GHS principles.

Module 1 – Introduction to the GHS and Challenges Associated With Its Implementation

Module 1 will provide a brief introduction to the GHS and how it is being implemented across various countries and jurisdictions.  Through various “mock” examples, we will illustrate how scientists may use the same data to arrive at different hazard conclusions. When ambiguous data lead to uncertain hazard conclusions, we will explore how a company’s risk philosophy may influence final hazard determinations. Module 1 will also explore the differences in GHS implementation across jurisdictions, as well as the legal and business implications with producing jurisdiction-specific hazards vs. maintaining a consistent hazard profile across all jurisdictions.  In particular, we will focus on how GHS assignments can affect the disclosure of confidential business information.