Even though GHS is a voluntary international system, countries which want to adopt it into their systems will have to modify their existing regulations according to the specific hazard criteria, classification processes, label elements and SDS requirements of the GHS. GHS’s approach is based on the requirements of the pre-modified HCS, but is more detailed and specific.
Countries are not obliged to adopt all of these elements. They have the option to define the building blocks they want to apply in different parts of their systems. However, when Competent Authorities decide the way to implement the various elements of the GHS- according to their needs and the needs of target sectors- they must consistently follow the GHS criteria and requirements. For example, if a regulatory system covers acute toxicity it must adopt the harmonized classification scheme, the harmonized label elements and, where appropriate, the SDS. Different types of chemical and use pattern of each sector have different needs and obligations, thus they manage hazard information in different ways. These main sectors are transport, workplace, consumers and agriculture (pesticides).
The same current transport requirements apply to transport sector. GHS physical, acute and environmental hazard criteria are adopted. Containers with hazardous chemicals must have labels with pictograms that present acute toxicity, physical hazards, and environmental hazards. However signal words, hazard statements and SDS are not required.
Most of the GHS regulations apply in workplaces. Employers have to implement a hazard communication program, according to GHS physical and health hazard criteria, including container labels (signal words, hazard statements and symbols, etc.); safety data sheets, and employee training. However environmental hazards are not obligatory to all workplace systems.
In this sector, labels are the basic GHS application. They have to include the core elements of the GHS (signal words, hazard statements and symbols, etc.) and subject to some sector-specific considerations in certain systems (e.g., risk-based labelling), according to appropriate GHS hazard criteria.
In this sector, pesticides must be labeled according to the suitable GHS hazard criteria; signal words, hazard statements and symbols, and subjected to some sector-specific considerations in certain systems.
The main goal of GHS implementation is to communicate hazard information to employers and employees by putting labels on containers and preparing safety data sheets in order to increase the protection of employees.