GHS symbols

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On 28 November 2008, the European Council adopted the GHS Regulation. The publication followed on 31 December 2008, which means that GHS can now be applied as of 21 January 2009.

GHS and what it means for you

GHS – The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals classifies chemical substances according to hazard level and proposes harmonized hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. Its goal is to ensure that information about physical hazards and toxicity of chemicals is present in the interest of better protection of human health and the environment during the treatment, transport and use of such chemical substances. The GHS also provides a basis for the harmonization of rules and regulations on chemical substances on a national, regional and international level, an important factor for trade facilitation.

For the European Union, the following mandatory introduction dates have been specified:

Effective Date
‘Pure’ chemical substances     01 Dec 2010
Mix of chemical substances     01 Jun 2015

During the transition period between the publication of the European Directive and the effective date, both systems are authorised (HSID and GHS):

  • As regards to labelling, the HSID system and the GSH system must not be used on the same box. If the manufacturer chooses the GHS system before December 2010, he may no longer use the HSID system.
  • In this case, the MSDS must only display both systems.

GHS labels will replace the HSID labelling system we use now. That means that the pictogram on an orange square and the R + S phrases will disappear. They will be replaced by new symbols with a diamond shape and phrases that are based on risks:

  • Physical risks
  • Health risks
  • Environmental risks

The orange symbols (HSID) will be replaced by the new GHS symbols.



New symbols for GHS labelling






The size of the labels with pictograms and the necessary safety sentences remain the same as in the current CLP regulation.

Content Label size (mm) Minimum pictogram size (mm)
< 3 litres 74×52 16,02 x 16,02
3-5 litres 105×74 22,76 x 22,76
50-500 litres 148×105 32,19 x 32,19
>500 litres 210×148 45,52 x 45,52

The symbol must cover at least 6.66% (previously 10%) of the label surface.

See our Pikt-o-norm catalogue

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