Chemical Labeling Compliance: Requirements & Solutions

GHS (Globally Harmonized System) Chemical Labeling Compliance

Until 2003, chemical labels were regulated by standards created by individual nations, usually with advice and commentary from related industry groups. We now find ourselves in an era of globalization, in which a globally interconnected supply chain accomplishes the manufacturing, packaging, transport, sale, and use of chemicals and chemical products.

Costs of GHS labeling are varied.  The European Union, the United States, Canada, and Asian countries have all moved towards GHS chemical labeling compliance at different rates, and with different final standards.
Although all of these packaging guidelines are GHS compliant, they do have subtle differences in language, size, and orientation rules – when a company ships chemicals to each of these countries, distinct packaging is needed for each location. From shipment to shipment, packaging an unpredictable amount of specific chemicals with unique GHS labels is a process that can be difficult to prepare for, without the appropriate packaging solution.

Benefits of the GHS Chemical Labeling Compliance Standards
Increased Safety, Communication, and Trade Facilitation

While the industry is required to bear the costs of re-assessing and re-packaging chemical products, it is important to note that there are benefits of GHS chemical labeling compliance.

  • GHS allows for a simpler export of chemical products to foreign markets, with no more country-specific documentation and testing standards, workplace safety standards, and environmental standards.
  • GHS further protects human health and the environment with consistent international hazard communication to inform all users throughout the chemical supply chain to the presence of a hazard. Compliance also minimizes exposure and risk to those hazardous chemicals through safer transportation, handling, and use.
  • In all participating countries, GHS ensures the safe management of chemicals through identifying hazards and communicating them. This is particularly useful for countries without well-developed regulatory systems.
  • GHS provides increased and simplified international trade, leading to improved communication and growth in international markets for companies seeking to import and export chemical goods.

Mandated GHS Label Requirements

Product Identifier
The ingredient name or number of the pure chemical substance or chemical mixture. The technical name(s) must be harmonized with IUPAC, CAS, and with the technical name(s) listed on the MSDS sheet. It must also be aligned with the UN Proper Shipping Name if the chemical is regulated under the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNRTDG). The Product Identifier is meant to prevent accidental or uninformed exposure. A worker, shipper, or supply chain partner must be able to identify the chemical and recognize its potential hazard accurately.

GHS Pictograms
Each red, black, and white point-set, square-shaped pictogram conveys information about particular hazardous risks associated with a chemical. In combination with the signal word “Danger” or “Warning,” the pictogram communicates the severity of the risk and is meant to prevent accidental or uninformed exposure. More than one pictogram may be used on the same chemical label, if applicable. The size of the pictogram, and other label elements, should be proportionate to the physical dimensions of the label. Examples:

chemical labeling compliance

Signal Words
Either “Danger” or “Warning” used to emphasize hazards and indicate the relative level of severity of the hazard, assigned to a GHS hazard class and category: “Danger” for the more severe hazards, and “Warning” for the less severe hazards. Only one signal word corresponding to the class of the most severe hazard should be used on a label.

Hazard Statements
These phrases describe the nature and degree of the hazard posed by the chemical. All hazard statements should be included on the label for a substance/mixture possessing more than one hazard. Example of a hazard statement: “Heating may cause an explosion.”

Precautionary Statement
These statements must relate to the GHS pictogram and further describe measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent risks associated with the hazard. The number of precautionary statements should be kept to a maximum of six. Example:  “Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces – no smoking” in relation to a pictogram that shows Explosive Danger and a Hazard Statement such as “Heating may cause an explosion.”

Supplier Information
Each chemical container, including secondary packagings such as crates and master cases, must include a GHS label printed with the Supplier Information. This must include the name, address, and telephone number of the manufacturer or supplier of the product.

Supplementary Information
Additional product information volunteered by the manufacturer, supplier, or other responsible parties. It is acceptable for the manufacturer to make a statement that is not harmonized with the GHS standards. However, the statement must not conflict with GHS standards.

Label Size Requirements

Most countries do not require minimum label sizes for GHS labels; however, they stipulate that GHS labels are easily readable. In the European Union, label minimums are outlined, depending on the capacity of the container. Within the European Union, the proper minimum label dimensions based on container size are depicted on the chart below:

Printing GHS Labels In-House

The variety of GHS label formats and size configurations has made the prospect of printing labels in-house, tailored for each chemical product, attractive to many chemical manufacturers. There are a couple of options for printing GHS labels as part of an in-house packaging process:

Option One: Printing Labels with a Barcode Printer
In this scenario, a barcode label printer is used to print pictograms, signal words, manufacturer address, and other text in one-color: black. Secondary and additional colors, red for the GHS pictograms and other colors for logos and branding, are pre-printed onto a roll of labels.
This pre-printed roll is inserted on a thermal transfer barcode printer, which prints the black-colored portion of the label, including the black section of the GHS pictograms, signal words, hazard warning, and other text with a black-colored thermal transfer ribbon.
This solution requires a large inventory of pre-printed labels, and a separate pre-printed roll for each variation in chemical label: different countries, languages, pictograms each get their own pre-printed roll. This presents a logistical challenge in a production setting, where packaging staff is required to identify and select the correct pre-printed label roll from among the many rolls on warehouse shelves for each batch.

Option Two: Printing Labels with a Full-Color Label Printer
A full-color digital label printer grants the capability of printing variable GHS labels with maximum flexibility to comply with GHS labeling regulations, along with customer and retailer demand.
Chemical manufacturers are finding that a full-color label printer provides them the most flexibility for printing GHS labels for international and domestic markets, wholesalers, and private label retailers.
A four-color or five-color printer can satisfy BS5609, GHS, private, and custom labeling requirements at the same time. However, an in-house, full-color digital label printer gives chemical manufacturers the capacity to print labels that integrate all GHS required elements and create graphic-rich primary display panels that include logos and branding the same label printing process.

Questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!

At AstroNova, we offer a total labeling solution. We provide the tools you need to integrate production efficiencies into your business and keep up with industry demands from a wide variety of label printers, materials, technical support, training, and a library of support videos. Contact us to schedule a free, web-based demonstration and to speak with one of our specialists!

Top 10 Benefits of Printing Labels In-House

It’s no secret that printing labels in-house offers businesses a breadth of benefits and has become an integral part of a company’s packaging production process.  Today, thousands of manufacturers, processors, and retailers around the world are increasing their sales revenue and profit margins by producing their own color labels in their factories and offices.

Printing labels on-demand provides benefits, like:

Benefit #1: Private Labeling

Private labeling has exploded over the last decade, especially in the food, beverage, cosmetic, chemical, medical, CBD, and dietary supplement industries.  Studies have shown most consumers prefer to buy private label or store brand labeled goods because of the higher perceived quality or value that the product provides.  Manufacturers who use in-house color label printers are able to command a competitive edge in the marketplace and a greater market share serving more customers with privately labeled products that are quickly customized in affordable, short-run label quantities.

printing labels in-house

Benefit #2: Produce Labels Instantly

Having the ability to print the exact number of labels you want, anytime you need them, affects more than product marketing, it’s also a tool to increase productivity by making labels on-demand. Even the best forecasting and purchasing practices can leave the packaging department hunting for labels at the last minute. For manufacturers with a family of multiple products, having the right label in inventory at the right time for the right product is often a challenge – easily fixed with in-house printing. With an in-house color label printer, manufacturers have the flexibility to print labels instantly, changeover packaging lines in minutes, and immediately start labeling new products.

Benefit #3: Cut Costs & Reduce Inventory

In-house label printing cuts costs for short-run, small quantity labels and simultaneously allows businesses to replace inventories with lean, just-in-time production practices.
Even with the best inventory management practices, it is difficult to predict how many labels will actually be used before products or label designs change. Additionally, the economics of traditional label printing requires print houses to ask to purchase large quantities of labels, usually more than you need at the current time. As a result, rolls of purchased labels perpetually remain in inventory. After a long period of storage, labels may become dirty, damaged, or yellowed and can lose adhesive properties. The labels, or even the products to which the labels
will be applied, may also become obsolete before they are used.

Benefit #4: Gain Production Flexibility – Label Any Product, Any Time

Traditionally, full-color primary display labels were printed off-site by a commercial label print house, while “back panel” labels with product-specific text and barcodes were printed in-house on a simple barcode label printer.  Today, QuickLabel printers have changed the label printing workflow by bringing it entirely in-house. For example, with QuickLabel, both the primary display “front panel” full-color label and the product-specific text and barcode “back panel” label can be printed simultaneously, in a single print pass.

The traditional labeling process:
  1. Design labels
  2. Order labels
  3. Wait for label proofs
  4. Makes changes
  5. Wait for second label proof
  6. Accept and return proof
  7. Wait to receive printed labels
  8. Receive and inventory labels
  9. Apply labels
The QuickLabel labeling process:
  1. Design labels
  2. Print your own proof
  3. Make changes on the fly
  4. Print labels
  5. Apply labels

Benefit #5: Maintain In-House Quality Control

For companies in highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, hazardous chemicals, and increasingly, dietary supplements and foods, it’s critical for the packaging process to meet quality standards established by third-party auditors and maintained by in-house quality management systems.  With a QuickLabel printer, it costs nothing to add or remove label content, a benefit to companies in regulated industries where required label changes are a costly fact of life. Country of Origin labeling legislation, more stringent labeling disclosures and new GHS chemical hazard labeling requirements are recent examples of governmental labeling standards that have caused companies to completely revamp their labels. Creating color labels on-demand with an in-house QuickLabel printer allows your company to ensure that it maintains strict control over labels so that your production operation is always able to label the right product, for the right customer, at the right time.

Benefit #6: One Pass Label Printing – including dates, barcodes, and serialization

Quality Control managers are relieved of many of the stringent regulatory burdens that apply to labels because all information can be printed on the fly, including serializing
barcodes, lot codes, batch codes, and expiration dates. Labels can be printed physically close to the product receiving the label, reducing the possibility of human error in the labeling process and eliminating the need to stock printed labels in inventory, and to quarantine and discard obsolete labels.

Benefit #7: Reduce Delivery Time to Market

Now more than ever, customer convenience and keeping up with demand are high priorities for most companies.  Consumers not only expect things faster, but product demands have never been higher, especially for industries like medical, pharmaceutical, sanitation, and food and beverage.  With an in-house label printer, print labels on-demand and get shipments out the door to retailers and customers faster, easier, and more efficiently, reducing lengthy and unnecessary downtimes.

Benefit #8: Be Ready to Ship Labeled Products at Any Time

At one time or another, production managers have been in the predicament of not being able to ship products to a waiting customer. The result is often missed deadlines, costly expedited shipments, backorders, reduced profitability, and lost revenue. In these cases, awaiting customers may decide to choose an alternate vendor rather than wait to receive a late shipment.
Owning an in-house label printer takes the unpredictability out of label availability. As long as managers maintain a stock of printing supplies, they are always ready to print the labels they need.

Benefit #9: Produce Short-Runs

There are a variety of perks attributed to producing short-runs.  Some which include providing consumers with limited-time offerings like seasonal flavorings for holidays, producing customized products for customers, eliminating unnecessary waste by not printing more than you need, or simply the flexibility of running a small, limited batch of labels for any variety of reasons.  One instance we’ve seen of this is companies switching their production process to meet the needs of their community by producing sanitation or protection supplies in difficult times like COVID-19.

Benefit #10: Offer Contract Labeling

Contract packagers provide custom labeling services to businesses that want to outsource packaging services, both to control quality and costs. If you are a professional contract packager, you already understand the revenue-producing value of flexible, in-house label printing. If you’re a company considering the purchase of a color label printer for your own use, you may also be able to benefit by providing labeling services to other companies in your geographic area or industry. The flexibility of owning a color label printer allows owners to act as contract packagers, making labels in any size, shape, or design, satisfying the branding requirements and technical requirements of customers. Printing labels as a service will allow you to increase revenue and profit while also absorbing excess production capacity.

Have any questions on how QuickLabel can help or more specifically how owning an in-house label printer can breathe new life into your business? Contact us for more information or a free consultation today!

How to Read & Label Chemical Cleaning Supplies

Not all JanSan labels are easy to get approved. If you handle sanitation or chemical supplies, you know there are specific marks and content that must appear on the product labels.

In this post, you will gain insight into chemical and GHS label markings and how to label them. In addition, we will cover how utilizing an on-demand color label printer can provide the best labeling solution for your products.

What Are GHS and Chemical Regulations?

Janitorial and sanitation products are among the chemicals that require color-coded chemical hazard identification labels in compliance with GHS Labeling regulations.

GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, which are usually represented as red and black pictograms.

Also known as graphic symbols, pictograms are used to communicate specific information about the hazards of a chemical. The GHS regulation standards use a total of nine pictograms.

The purpose of these symbols is to provide workers with better information on the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals, thereby allowing them (or anyone handling the product) to avoid injuries and illnesses related to exposures to hazardous chemicals.

To read more on each GHS classification symbol, with a more in-depth review of each, please view our white paper GHS Chemical Labeling Compliance: Requirements & Solutions.

What to Include on Chemical Cleaning Supply Labels

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) states, “chemical manufacturers, importers, or distributors must ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals is labeled, tagged or marked with the following information: product identifier; signal word; hazard statement(s); precautionary 1 2 statement(s); and pictogram(s); and name, address and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible parties.”

Make Compliance Easier by Printing Compliant Labels In-House 

Now that you have a better understanding of the labeling requirements, what’s the best way to create your labels?

If you are in the industry, you already know most GHS label printers offer the ability to print GHS compliant labels in just two colors, red and black.

An ideal durable label printer, QuickLabel tabletop label printer has the ability to instantly print full-color GHS JanSan labels in 1200 dpi resolution.

The QuickLabel “D” printers produce durable, pigment based labels that are able to withstand water, dirt, exposure, abrasion, and hazardous chemicals while maintaining color-fastness.

So, with a QL-120D, you can print your entire chemical label in seconds, including your logo and primary display panel graphics and the red and black GHS pictograms, text, barcode, and serializations.

See What the Extra-Durable, GHS Compliant Kiaro! D is Capable of:

Printing in full color, 1200 dpi allows your compliant GHS labels to send two messages:

1. A responsible manufacturer has packaged the product safely.

2. The company logo and branding stand out from other competitors.

A QuickLabel printer provides valuable competitive advantages by maintaining GHS compliance and showing off signature brands.

Stand Out on the Shelves

While other companies are stuck with identical packaging, you have the option to stand out with custom messaging. Your custom label and verbiage will ensure customers and clients know exactly who manufactures their chemicals.

To get the perfect package, we recommend using labeling software in addition to an in-house label printer. Labeling software allows you to link your database of chemical descriptions with a label printer for accuracy.

With a robust color label printer such as the QL-120D and a fully-featured GHS labeling software such as NiceLabel, it is easy to become compliant and maintain compliance.

Interested in learning more about in-house durable label printers?

Contact us for more information on GHS and chemical JanSan labels.

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