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Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

On May 21, 20012,  the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS, was adopted by the Minnesota OSHA in conjunction with amendments to the Employee Right to Know (ERTK).  

The GHS System is built on 16 physical, 10 health and 3 environmental hazard classes, and comprises 9 hazard communication elements, or pictograms designed to warn the user about the hazard of the substance being used

As of June 1, 2015, the Federal Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and the Minnesota Employee Right-To-Know will require pictograms on labels to alert employees and chemical users of the hazards to which they may be exposed on a routine basis. 

Pictogram consists of a symbol on a white background framed within a red border and represents a distinct hazard(s).  

Most of the GHS pictograms have an equivalent in the old system, however,  the pictograms GHS 04, GHS 07 and GHS 08 are completely new.  The table below provide explanation to each individual pictogram, and corresponding hazards it represents.

Hazard Description
  Hazard Class 


Self reactive substances and mixtures,
Organic peroxides,

GHS2: Flame              
Flammable solids, liquids, gases, and aerosols. 
Self-Reactive, Self Heating substance & mixtures.
Pyrophoric liquids, and solids.
Substances & mixtures, which
emit flammable gases when in contact with water.
Organic peroxides.

Flame Over Circle
Oxidizing liquids, and gases

Gas Cylinder
Gases under pressure:
- Compressed gases
- Liquefied gases
- Refrigerated liquefied gases 
- Dissolved gases

Skin corrosion, or burns
Serious eye damage
Corrosive to metals,

Skull and Crossbones

Acute toxicity (Fatal or toxic oral, dermal, inhalation),

Exclamation Mark
Acute toxicity (oral, dermal, inhalation),
Skin and eye and respiratory irritation,
Skin sensitisation,
Narcotic Effects,
Acute Toxicity: Specific Target Organ Toxicity – Single exposure,
Hazardous to the Ozone Layer

Health Hazard

Respiratory sensitization,
Reproductive toxicity,
Specific Target Organ Toxicity – Single and  Repeated exposures,
Aspiration Hazard,

Aquatic Toxicity (Hazardous to the aquatic environment)
- Acute hazard, category1
- Chronic hazard, categories 1,2

Source: Sigma Aldrich GHS Info Page

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