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  5. Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

(May be found on means of containment during transport)

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is an international guideline published by the United Nations. The GHS aims to harmonize the classification and labeling systems for all sectors involved in the life cycle of a chemical (production, storage, transport, workplace use, consumer use and presence in the environment).

The GHS has nine symbols used to convey specific physical, health and environmental hazard information. These symbols are part of a pictogram that is diamond shaped and includes the GHS symbol in black on a white background with a red frame. The pictogram is part of the GHS label, which also includes the following information:

  • Signal word
  • Hazard statement
  • Precautionary statements
  • Product identifier
  • Supplier identification

GHS pictograms are similar in shape to transport labels; however, transport labels have backgrounds of different colors.

The elements of the GHS that address signal words and hazard statements are not expected to be adopted in the transport sector. For substances and mixtures covered by the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations, the transport labels for physical hazards will have precedence. In transport, a GHS pictogram for the same (or lesser) hazard as the one reflected by the transport label or placard should not be present, but it could exist on the package.

Example of GHS labeling:
Outer and Inner package: Box with flammable liquid transport label and plastic bottle with GHS hazard warning label
Outer Packaging:
Box with flammable
liquid transport label
Inner Packaging:
Plastic bottle with
GHS hazard warning
Single Packaging:
200 L (55 US gallon) drum with a flammable liquid transport label combined with GHS hazard warning label

In some cases, such as on drums or international bulk containers (IBCs), which must address information for all sectors, the GHS label may be found in addition to the required transport labels and placards. Both types of labels (GHS and transport) will differ in a way that will make them easy to identify during an emergency.

GHS Pictograms Physical hazards GHS Pictograms Health and Environmental hazards


Organic peroxide
Skin corrosion;

Serious eye damage



Organic peroxide;


Emits flammable gases when in contact with water
Acute toxicity (harmful);

Skin sensitizer;

Irritant (skin and eye);

Narcotic effect;

Respiratory tract irritant;

Hazardous to ozone layer (environment)
Oxidizer Respiratory sensitizer;



Reproductive toxicity;

Target organ toxicity;

Aspiration hazard
Gas under pressure Hazardous to aquatic environment
Corrosive to metals Acute toxicity (fatal or toxic)
Date Modified: