New Label Regulations for Chemicals 2015

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CHIP is gone GHS is in.

As of 1st June this year (2015) all chemical products will be labelled under the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). It is implemented in the EU via the Classification, Labelling and Packaging regulation (CLP), where previously chemical products were regulated in the UK under CHIP. The new GHS has been created to standardise how the hazardous properties of chemicals are classified across United Nations territories.

The main changes will be the introduction of red diamond shaped Hazard Pictograms to replace the orange square Hazard Symbols and ‘Indication of Danger’ words Toxic, Corrosive, Irritant etc will be replaced by two new ‘Signal Words’ - ‘DANGER’ and ‘WARNING’.

As before, a system of calculations and thresholds is used to classify products. However, some of the threshold levels under CLP are lower than under CHIP.
For example under the CHIP system a product would need to contain more than 20% of an ingredient classified as R36 (Irritating to eyes) to trigger an ‘Irritant’ hazard symbol but under CLP this is reduced to 10%. This will result in many products being classified where previously they were not. This does not signify the product as more hazardous since it is the same chemical composition; it is just a consequence of compliance with the new classification system. Evans Vanodine estimates that many previously non-classified products will now include a Hazard Pictogram on the label and corresponding Safety Data Sheet.

Concerns Over-Classification.

Evans Vanodine has stated that "we accept, and agree, a global system of classifying cleaning chemicals is necessary  but obviously there are concerns about how end users will react to seeing Hazard Pictograms on products where previously there were none."

"After 20 plus years of CHIP symbols, it is important that users are educated to understand the new Pictograms and Statements and how these affect the assessment and subsequent use of PPE if required. "
"We would like to point out that the hazard classification on the label applies to the undiluted product only."

Communication and Training.

It is going to be very important that users of chemicals are fully aware of the changes and understand the regulations. It is the responsibility of cleaning chemical manufacturers, such as Evans Vanodine, to communicate with distributors and issue detailed product support information as the changes occur and for those distributors such as Panama Cleaning Supplies to pass this information to the end users so they are able to recognise the new Pictograms and the associated risks and the need to review COSHH Risk Assessments.  


It is important to remember that to minimise the risks associated with a product at work or at home it should be used as recommended, which is stated on the label, Safety Data Sheets and through training.  
If you use chemicals at work, you should:
1.    Look out for communication regarding Classification changes on products and check that you are doing what is needed to use the chemical safely. 
2.    Check the Hazard and Precaution Statements that accompany the Hazard Pictogram on the label.
3.    Follow the advice provided on the new labels and, where appropriate, in Safety Data Sheets and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if required.
4.    Review COSHH Risk Assessments and update if necessary.
5.    If you are an employer, alert your employees to these changes and provide adequate information, instruction and training.

If you use chemicals at Home, you should:
1. Check that you are doing what is needed to use the chemical safely. 
2. Follow the advice provided on the new labels and, where appropriate use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if required.

You will find further details on CLP Regulation via the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
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