At its tenth session (11 December 2020), the “Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals” adopted a set of amendments to the eighth revised edition of the GHS which include: the revision of chapter 2.1 (explosives) to better address their explosion hazard when they are not in their transport configuration; the revision of decision logic. The revision of the classification and labeling summary tables in Annex 1; the revision and further rationalization of precautionary statements and the updating of references to OECD test guidelines for the testing of chemicals in annexes 9 and 10. The ninth revised edition of the GHS takes account of these amendments which were circulated as document ST/SG/AC.10/48/Add.3.
Section 1: Why GHS Revision 9?
Every two years, the “Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals” (GHS Revision Committee) re-examines the list of hazardous substances and their transport configuration and its corresponding revision to the GHS. These revisions are initiated and adopted by the “Committee” and of which the members are defined by the member States as the GHS Global Members. This Committee meets every two years to review and revise the list of hazardous substances and their corresponding classification and labeling for the GHS 8th Revision (GHS-8R), the GHS 8th Revision (GHS-8R) of which came into force in June 2016. The GHS-8R revised list of hazardous substances became effective in June 2016.
What’s new in the revised edition of the GHS?
These amendments will be incorporated into the ninth revised edition of the GHS which will be presented at its 11th session (11 December 2021) and subsequently adopted at its 12th session (11 December 2022) and thereafter entered into force on 1 January 2024. One of the major new additions is the decision logic which helps classify and label substances based on “the set of rules and principles determining the relevant reasons for classifying and labeling a substance” according to the UNGHS. In particular, this section emphasizes the responsibility of the authorities of the origin country and the destination country of hazardous chemicals.
The revision of the GHS is an essential component of ensuring safe and efficient transportation of dangerous goods and will provide global consistency to risk assessment and measurement. This revision allows the Commission the opportunity to update largely tested and valid legislation, to strengthen its mission to promote international harmonization in the field of dangerous goods transport, and to focus on the safety of goods transported and managed across borders. Expert meetings in support of the revision will be organized during 2020, with input from the transport, environment, and international trade ministries and are expected to result in the adoption of a work program for the 10th GHS Revision.