Adoption of new Hazard Substance labels

As a follow on from my earlier comments regarding the correct use of COSHH rated hazardous substance cabinets I should have added that if using a general purpose COSHH cabinet the need for correct labelling to identify the actual class of materials stored still applies. Use of the old black “Cross” designating “Harmful” is being phased out in favour of more specific pictograms so that the hazard posed by the contents is clear and unambiguous. The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is a UN inspired scheme intended to establish a standardized global system to harmonise all the various national and regional hazard communication systems around the world that apply to the control and supply of hazardous chemicals. The GHS when fully rolled out will act in much the same way that the ‘Orange Book’ provides a global framework for the transport of dangerous goods.

This makes absolute sense given our modern global marketplace and Europe is one of the first to adopt the GHS via the CLP (Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures). This Regulation is entitled “Regulation (EC)No 1272/2008” and supercedes Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC.

There is a generous transition period so the old hazard labels on your existing cabinets and existing warehouse stock are acceptable. The plan is to achieve a full transition by 2015. If you are using General purpose COSHH Storage cabinets although the “Cross” label denoting “Hazard” may already be attached but you may be best advised to source the appropriate CLP hazard label specific to the contents for example Flammable, Toxic, Corrosive, Explosive, Environmental Hazard etc to satisfy the Health and Safety and Fire Safety legislation.

Although the CLP legislation is quite detailed and complex for product Safety Data Sheets and labeling of the chemical container or its outer packaging that may involve displaying several pictograms this is not necessary on a hazardous storage cabinet where only the general hazardous class is required.

A summary of the new label pictograms is given below. Note that there is a different set of CLP harmonized labels required for use in the transportation of Hazardous goods. For the full text of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 go to

Physical Hazards

Health Hazards

Environmental Hazards