The GHS system is used to identify specific hazards associated with various chemicals that are used in different industries. The hazards are identified using nine different pictograms, each of which are associated with a different type of risk. A chemical will be labeled with one or more of these pictograms to make it easy for those who work with them understand the risks. These nine pictograms make up the most recognized part of GHS, but there is more.
In addition to the pictograms, GHS also breaks up the hazards into different groups that have things in common. This is very helpful for companies that need to use personal protection equipment or other safety gear that is designed to protect against specific hazards. In GHS, there are three distinct groups.
The first group is for physical hazards. Any chemical that has the potential to cause physical harm to those in the area will be classified in this group. Physical harm will include fires, explosions, projectiles, oxidation, and more.
Chemicals that are categorized within the health hazards group have the potential to cause health related issues. This would include toxic chemicals, chemicals that can cause health problems when they come in contact with the skin, eyes, or are inhaled. The health hazards can range from causing coughing to organ failure to cancer, and many other things.
The environmental hazards group includes chemicals that can cause damage or problems to the environment. For example, if a chemical will kill or damage life in a body of water, or cause it to become unpotable, it will fall in this group. Chemicals that damage the ozone layer are also considered environmental hazards.
Chemicals in Multiple Groups
Chemicals can be in more than one of these three groups. If a chemical can cause health problems and environmental problems, for example, it will be contained within both of these two groups. There are even some chemicals that will fall within all three groups.
- How many GHS pictograms are there?
- What is the GHS format?
- How is GHS implemented?
- What are GHS codes?
- What are GHS physical hazards?
- How do I read and understand a GHS Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
- Are GHS pictograms and hazard labels the same?
- How do I read GHS labels?