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:
• 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!
The world of packaging & labeling is quite complicated and can be littered with complex terms and legalese. The origins of the USA’s current regulatory framework can be traced back to the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation (UPLR) that was first adopted in 1952. The UPLR requires that consumer packaging bear a label specifying the following:
- the identity of the commodity
- the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor
- the net quantity of contents in terms of weight, mass measure, or numerical count is in a uniform location upon the principal display panel
UPLR has precise definitions for seemingly simple and straightforward terms like “package” or “label.” Select terms you may find useful are defined and explained below. For a complete list of terms along with their definitions and exceptions, please refer to the relevant section in NIST Handbook 130.
The term “package,” whether standard package or random package, means any commodity: (a) enclosed in a container or wrapped in any manner in advance of wholesale or retail sale, or (b) whose weight or measure has been determined in the wholesale or retail sale. An individual item or lot of any commodity on which a selling price is marked based on an established price per unit of weight or measure shall be considered a package or packages.
Consumer Package or Consumer Commodity
A package that is:
- customarily produced or distributed for sale through retail sales agencies or for consumption
- used by individuals for the purposes of personal care
- used in the performance of services ordinarily rendered in or about the household
- used in connection with personal possessions
A package that is a lot, shipment, or delivery of packages of the same consumer commodity with no fixed pattern of net contents.
Any written, printed, or graphic matter affixed to, applied to, attached to, blown into, formed, molded into, embossed on, or appearing upon or adjacent to a consumer commodity, or a package containing any consumer commodity, for purposes of branding, identifying, or giving any information concerning the product or the contents of the package.
Principal Display Panel(s)
The part(s) of a label that is designed to most likely be displayed, presented, shown, or examined under the usual and customary display and purchase conditions. Wherever a principal display panel appears more than once on a package, all requirements about the “principal display panel” shall pertain to all such “principal display panels.”
A package containing two or more individual packages of the same commodity, in the same quantity, is intended to be sold as a multi-unit package, but where the component packages are labeled individually in full compliance with all requirements of this regulation.
A package intended for retail sale, containing two or more individual packages or units of different commodities. Examples: antiquing or housecleaning kit sponge and cleaner lighter fluid and flints.
A package intended for retail sale, containing two or more individual packages or units of similar, but not identical, commodities. Commodities that are generically the same, but that differ in weight, measure, volume, appearance, or quality, are considered similar, but not identical. Examples: two sponges of different sizes or plastic tableware, consisting of four spoons, four knives, and four forks.
A spot label is a label clearly defined utilizing a border, indentation, or other means that cover only a small portion of the surface of a principal display panel of a package; the entire portion of the principal display panel outside the area of the label contains no printed or graphic matter of any kind. A spot label may provide all required labeling information (identity, responsibility, and net contents), but it must at least indicate the identity and net contents.
A header label or header strip is a label that is attached across the top of a transparent or opaque bag or other containers that bears no other printed or graphic material.
A package that is one of a lot, shipment, or delivery of parcels of the same commodity with identical net content declarations. Examples: 1 L bottles or 12 fl. oz cans of carbonated soda, or 500 g or 5 lb. bags of sugar.
Have Questions or Looking to Print Labels In-House?
Did you know not all labels meet the requirements to be considered BS5609 certified?
If your business generates products that require this certification, such as chemical jugs, hardware, and industrial product labels, and more, it is important to know what BS5609 is and the standards that need to be met.
What is BS5609?
BS5609 is the internationally recognized British Standard for pressure-sensitive adhesive labels used for overseas shipping. Also known as the Marine Immersion Label Testing Standard, chemical manufacturers refer to this standard when their labels are used on hazardous chemical containers transported by sea.
BS5609 certification establishes whether or not labels remain adhesive and readable on containers and barrels, after prolonged exposure to the ocean environment including both seawater and sand abrasion.
Elements, including those required by GHS, such as red and black ink of GHS pictograms, hazard statements and health warnings all must remain identifiable on the label with slight or no color change or print removal in order to pass BS5609 testing.
Where Can You Get BS5609 Certified Labels?
Surprisingly enough, you can print them yourself. With some help, of course.
QuickLabel now has a line of BS5609 certified label printers for GHS labels. These label printers are available in three models for various label sizes, all of which are able to produce BS5609-compliant labels.
Not only will you remain compliant, but you can print all of your labels in short-runs, in-house.
Eric Pizzuti, Vice President of QuickLabel states, “We are confident that our QL-120D label printer and our BS5609 certified labels and inks comprise the most durable, reliable, and easy-to-use GHS label printing solution on the market.”
Pizzuti continues, “Chemical producers who need to print black and red GHS labels for bottles and cartons will be pleased to know that they can also print their front-panel primary display labels in full-color using the QL-120D, which boasts excellent print quality and 1200 dpi resolution.”
QuickLabel BS5609 Label Printer
The QL-120D label printer allows you to print durable labels that can get dirty, wet, scuffed, and exposed to sunlight and chemicals – all while maintaining legibility and colorfastness.
Thanks to cutting-edge pigment ink formulation and GetLabels qualified label stocks, labels printed by the QL-120D comply with GHS hazard warning labeling regulations and BS5609 certification, one of the most stringent physical label standards in the world.
The QL-120D Label Printer
Variable color shoebox labels, hardware labels, electrical labels, industrial product labels, and color warehouse labels are ideal uses for the QL-120D. Its reliable operation, 12 ips print speed and 1200 dpi print quality make the QL-120D a high performer for your production facility.
Similar to the QL-120/QL-120X commercial label printers, the QL-120D prints labels from 0.5”- 4.2” wide and up to more than 15” in length. The QL-120D is also compatible with matte polypropylene and paper label materials and doesn’t require lamination to make durable labels.
Have you heard you can simplify your manufacturing process with Kanban cards? If you’re in the manufacturing industry, you should.
Kanban cards originated from the Japanese term “Kanban” meaning “visual sign” or “signal.” The physical cards became widely used during the 1940s in Toyota’s manufacturing process to improve workflow and efficiency.
The simplicity of the cards allows for quick comprehension, ease of use, and accurate control of inventory in the workplace.
Working in the manufacturing industry, you know how beneficial the Kanban cards are.
They help your company keep track of the parts you have, the parts (and therefore orders) you need, the deliveries you have scheduled or should schedule, and the demand of your products internally and externally.
But what makes a QL-120X an ideal color label printer for Kanban cards? A lot of things.
The QL-120X appreciates the need for high quality.
With a QuickLabel printer, you are not limited to having only a barcode or color code — you have the ability to include photo-quality pictures of the product or part along with full product description on the card as well.
This makes it easier to verify a complete visual of what it is you need.
What’s more, you can print your cards in full color and 1200 dpi resolution. With that said, you’ll be sure to print with the finest detail and color accuracy.
This is especially useful for not only images but the color-coded cards distributed amongst different product lines.
The QL-120X understands the value of time.
And what’s more valuable than yours?
The QL-120X has the ability to print up to 12 inches per second. The edges are even perforated, so you can produce your prints as needed and separate them just as easily.
It certainly knows how to maintain productivity. With the built-in automatic cutter, no scissors, no cutting, and no measuring is needed.
It’s even easier than you thought. Just grab it and go.
The QL-120X is never wasteful.
A forecast is usually one of two things: lucky or wrong.
Instead of having to predict how many cards to order, the QL-120X gives you the ability to print your Kanban cards on demand.
Now, you’ll always meet your company’s needs. No more wasted supplies and no more storage rooms full of extras. You can print in batches of one and cut to custom lengths immediately with the built-in automatic cutter with user-specified intervals to synchronize print jobs with production needs.
And, if you need to change something, you can reconfigure a process instantly without being burdened by the cost of scrapping pre-printed cards. You have the ability to respond to what’s actually being done and fulfill your precise needs with the highest accuracy.
All in all, these little cards make a big impact – but they can also become a significant pain to stay on top of.
With the QL-120X, the process of producing Kanban cards remains effortless — and the possibilities endless.
It’s your visual indicator, it’s your reminder and it’s your record keeper.
Make your Kanban cards with a QL-120X label printer and you’ll have everything your team needs to know on that little card.
The QL-120X delivers Kanban cards efficiently, precisely, and in a manner that’s most beneficial to you and your company’s continuous improvement initiatives.
Any Questions on How We Can Help Simplify Your Manufacturing Process with Kanban Cards?
Or contact us today to schedule a virtual demonstration.