In order to achieve different objectives, different countries around the world opt to adopt the UN recommended Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling of chemicals.
One objective is a protection of the health of workers involved in the chain of processing, storage, handling and transportation of chemicals. Aside from protecting the health of the workers, another goal of the UN recommended Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling of chemicals is to protect the environment. Hazard levels can easily be identified if the classification system of chemicals were unified properly. Some countries did not have in place a system of classification while others that did had various methods of classification and categorization that led to confusion and risky situations. The development of the UN recommended Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling of chemicals came from the study which aimed to unify and ensure the level of protection. Another objectives of the classification process is to consider the reaction that may form when chemicals react to the air, water or other chemicals once they are released in the environment. As such the GHS SDS were developed in a structured way with each section easily referred to by those involved in the chain such as processing, storage, and transportation in addition to end users. Over the years GHS underwent various revisions and countries accepted one or the other besides introducing their own norms. The odd thing about the SDS is that they aim to disclose hazard fully however, they don’t want to compromise confidential information of proprietary formulations. A key feature is that of training employees in the use of SDS and appropriate procedures in relation to the chemicals they handle and this training included interpretation of the safety data sheets and the safety labels.
However, these procedures must first undergo some recommendations before they are implemented. There are cases where an improper distributor receives sealed containers of chemicals but with a GHS label. They must see to it that the GHS labels must remain intact since they are the ones who are liable to the labeling of chemicals. There are instances where manufacturers can receive a sealed container which are not closed well, thus, they have to keep the data sheet and make it available for the next employee who will handle the chemical so that the secondary container can be labeled accordingly.
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You should also be aware of the different anomalies and unexpected situations that may happen upon handling a hazardous chemicals. GHS does not specify a uniform test method but relies on tests conducted by internationally accepted test agencies such as OECD or relies on WHO data in regards to health and environmental hazards.Study: My Understanding of Chemicals