The United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) has been around for some time now, but manufacturers here in the United States will need to pay more attention to this as OSHA gets its own regulations in line with GHS.
A big part of getting into compliance with GHS is to get all your products correctly classified and building the database of all the information needed to be embedded in the GHS labels.
Once this is in place, the focus shifts to ensuring that the correct product information and warning pictograms are added to each product label that is printed.
There are a number of components that make up a GHS label
The GHS Pictograms are intended to quickly convey specific information about the hazards of a product. The 9 Pictograms for product packaging are shown below.
2. Product Identifier
The commercial name and chemical name of the product
3. Signal Word
An alert to the severity of the hazard
4. Hazard & Precautionary Statement
Describes the nature of the hazard and advises measures recommended to prevent adverse effects
5. First Aid Statement
Emergency care information
6. Supplier Information
Name, address and phone number of the manufacturer, distributor, importer or other responsible party
Options for GHS Label Printing
The multicoloured nature of GHS compliant labels means there are a number of ways to be able to print them.
One way is to have the labels pre-printed on a multicolour press.
We are able to provide pre-printed labels that meet the needs of GHS and BS5609 using Datamax-O’Neil’s ChemShield label material.
Any variable information can be easily added by using one of our thermal transfer printers – we’d suggest the Datamax H-Class which is available in print widths of up to 8 inches wide.
It is also common (especially if the range of products varies but has the same classifications, thus needing the same warning pictograms each time) to print a blank label with fixed graphics, such as the company logo and the pictograms. The rest of the product specific information can then be added at print time.
If there is a lot of variation in the products, it is possible to print the full labels in colour, on demand. For this, we suggest the VIP 945 printer, which can produce beautiful full colour labels that meet or exceed BS5609 – perfect for your GHS labels.
You need to get into GHS compliance but don’t want to get involved in label printing at all? No problem, we can do the whole job for you!
Label Design Software
If you’ve read Labeling News before, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a fan of BarTender label software. As you’d expect, I used this to make a start creating GHS labels.
I simply created a set of the GHS Pictograms and put them in a directory on my PC. I could then link to them in my product database, which is a simple Excel spreadsheet – just by copying the path to the graphic file in the appropriate cell in the spreadsheet. Simple to do and works well.
The folks at Seagull Scientific have written a BarTender driver specifically for the Datamax and VIP printers so the software is easy to use as a fully integrated solution. The VIP 945 printer comes with a stripped down version of BarTender software – BarTender Ultra-Lite. I’d suggest throwing this away and getting BarTender Pro or Automation which will be way more useful.
For automating the label printing process, it is also possible to use Seagull’s Commander app. This allows the printing to be controlled by other applications, whilst integrating the design features of BarTender.
How are you doing with your GHS labeling? If you need help with labels, hardware or software to get into compliance or are looking for ideas to improve your labeling operations, we are always here to help.
Call me at 603-598-1553 x237 or use the contact form on the site.