The GHS system uses a series of nine pictograms that represent different types of hazards that are present when using different types of chemicals. When buying, selling, storing, shipping, or using any type of hazardous chemical it is important to label the containers or other items with the proper pictograms. The pictograms are printed in black and white surrounded by a red diamond. When two or more pictograms are needed for a specific chemical, they will be positioned to form a diamond.
Printing the Pictograms
The pictograms themselves are always to be printed in black and white. This helps to ensure that a global standard is followed by everyone who uses the GHS standards. This also makes it quite easy to print off your own GHS labels, order standard labels, or otherwise get exactly what is needed in any situation.
Standardization is critical in the GHS system because it is designed to be used by facilities around the world. Even when there are language barriers, the GHS system is easily understood because there is no variation in the way that the pictograms look, or what they mean.
The Red Diamond
The red diamond that is printed around each pictogram also must follow the GHS standard. This means that you can’t change the diamond to another color or make it black. Following these strict instructions has been a driving factor in ensuring this standard is adopted by companies around the world. Today, GHS is used by thousands of facilities. In many case, following the standards is done voluntarily. In other cases, such as in the United States, the GHS standards have been adopted by government regulatory agencies (OSHA), which have made them required.
Creating GHS Pictograms
Another advantage of having the standard black and white pictogram with a red diamond is that it makes the labels extremely easy to create. There are only nine pictograms that a company needs to have on file, and they can print them off quickly and easily using an industrial label maker or other device.