Until last year however, the global production, distribution and storage of hazardous chemicals suffered from a lot of confusion over differing international standards of goods labeling. A toxic chemical may be correctly labeled in some countries, but display nothing in others.
Confusion is the last thing you want in the chemicals supply chain, and it has been a particular problem for those handling safety data sheets, which drivers and warehousing workers in particular rely upon to understand exactly what they are dealing with.
Standardized labeling has been in the pipeline since development began at the United Nations Rio Conference in 1992 but has now become a reality providing the chemical supply chain sector a harmonized standard from which to build on.
The publication of the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) may sound complicated but its aims are simple - one chemical, one label - wherever it gets shipped across the world. The introduction of GHS has ensured that, for the first time, international business has a shared system for labeling and safety data sheets that classifies chemicals according to their health impact, environmental and physical hazards.
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