Labeling for GHS (Global Harmonized System)

BarTender® software is an integral component of the GHS labeling strategy of the world’s chemical facilities, deployed at ICIS Top 100 manufacturers as well as local and regional operations. The chemical industry chooses BarTender for ease of deployment and configurable technology, all backed by industry expertise — we understand the regulatory and supply chain pressures that chemical manufacturers and distributors face. 

About GHS

The United Nations adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in 2002 with a goal of improving worker safety and simplifying global commerce by prescribing a set of rules that cover training, product labeling and safety documentation to identify chemicals and their safe handling methods in the workplace. The UN revisits and then revises GHS every two years, with Revision Six due this year, 2015.

Each UN member country decides which categories and elements of the system it will adopt and sets its own schedule for implementing them.

In the US, GHS was adopted in 2012, with compliance deadlines spread throughout 2014, 2015 and 2016. GHS is administered by OSHA and is sometimes also called HazCom 2012. It’s important to remember that OSHA’s primary mandate is workplace safety. When a product is in the custody of one of your employees, handled, stored or transported, OSHA holds that you are accountable for it being properly labeled. Workers must always have access to complete hazard information.

In the European Union, GHS is called CLP, short for “EC Regulation no. 1272/2008 on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures.” It was adopted in 2008, and came into force in 2009. CLP is administered by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

GHS is fully implemented and in effect in Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan, The People’s Republic of China, with the other countries of APAC in various stages of adoption.

For more specific information, move your mouse over the map to see the GHS implementation status for selected countries and regions.

Countries/regions that have already implemented GHS
Countries/regions that are in the process of implementing GHS
Move your mouse over the map to see the GHS implementation status for selected countries and regions.
Pure substances must be properly classified, packed and labeled and accompanied by SDS. Mixed chemicals must be compliant by 1 June, 2015. Brazilian Portuguese is the required language for labeling and documentation.
Health Canada published a draft proposal for the implementation of GHS, and the commentary period closed 15 September, 2013. Final rule pending.
Implemented for transport, SDS, labels and classification
European Union / EEA
The Classification, Labeling and Packaging (CLP) regulations align European Union and European Economic Area countries with GHS, which are fully implemented for substances. The deadline for full compliance for mixtures is 1 June, 2015. Turkey, recently accessed to the EU, has established a compliance deadline of 1 January 2013 for substances. The EU candidate country Macedonia is in the process of GHS implementation.
A draft set of rules was issued in 2011. As of October 2013, the final rules have not been published.
Japan began the GHS process in 2001, and the regulation is fully implemented.
Russian Federation
Adoption of GHS rules is voluntary. Fully implemented for transport of dangerous goods. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has adopted a regulation that will make GHS compliance legally binding as of July 2017, if member countries (Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus) can reach consensus on implementation.
United States of America
1 December, 2013, deadline for training employees on the new label and SDS formats; 1 December, 2015, deadline for complying with GHS provisions, except for distributors, who may continue to ship products from their suppliers labeled under the old system; 1 June, 2016, all chemicals stored and transported in the US must be labeled and transported according to GHS regulations.
Fully implemented, however, GHS compliance in Mexico is not mandatory, nor enforced.
Part 7.1 of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations (WHS) take effect 31 December, 2016. These standards align with the UN recommendations.
GHS is fully implemented in Taiwan.
The deadline for compliance with the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No 64/10 is 1 June, 2015. The Serbian language must appear on the label, but there are provisions for other languages to be included. Provisions in this regulation closely parallel the EU’s CLP.
The deadline for implementation of Malasia’s Occupational Safety and Health Classification, Labelling and Safety Data Sheet of Hazardous Chemicals (CLASS) is 17 April, 2015. The regulation closely mirrors the UN GHS system.

OSHA Enforcement Guidance, February 2015

Many downstream users in the US chemical supply chain have found OSHA's GHS system, scheduled to take effect on June 1, 2015, burdensome to implement. OSHA recently provided some relief to the chemical industry in the form of a discretionary enforcement policy.

Through February 9, 2017, OSHA will not cite those members of the downstream chemical supply chain who cannot meet the June 1, 2015 deadline to provide GHS-compliant labels and SDSs, due to inability to obtain the information necessary from their upstream suppliers.

To be considered for this discretionary enforcement relief, a company must provide:

  • Documented evidence of attempts to obtain the necessary information from upstream suppliers.
  • Documented evidence of efforts to obtain information from other sources.
  • Documented evidence of attempts to classify the data on its own.
  • A clear and enforceable timeline for compliance.

To learn more, please visit the OSHA website.

The GHS Label

GHS was intended to create a clear and consistent method of communicating about chemicals through labeling and documentation. But with implementation deadlines looming, chemical companies are finding the requirements anything but clear and consistent.

What are the mandated label elements, and how are they used? Hover over the blue dots on the side of this label to learn more.

Product Name

Signal Word

One of two Signal Words, either WARNING for products with a "less than severe or non-lethal hazard", or DANGER, for products with a "severe or potentially lethal hazard"

Hazard Statements (H-statements)

The 71 H-statements provide safety, health, and environmental warnings about the product. At least one must appear on the GHS label. H-statements replace the EU’s R-phrases.

Precautionary Statements (P-statements)

At least one and up to six P-statements appear on the label. Each relates to the label’s pictograms, and describes storage, handling and first aid instructions. P-statements replace the EU’s S-statements.

Product Identifier

A product is usually identified by either its CAS or IUPAC number.

  • IUPAC is a string of letters, digits, and hyphens identifying organic chemistries, and can be tens of characters long.
  • CAS numbers are broken into three parts by hyphens, the first section consisting of between one and seven digits; the second section, two digits; and the third, one digit.

Supplier Identification

The name, address and telephone number of the supplier must appear on the label.


There are nine black, white and red, diamond-shaped GHS pictograms, each a quick visual identifier of a handling precaution. No empty red diamonds may appear on a label.

Supplemental Information

This may be anything a supplier chooses: a barcode, website URL, corporate logo, inventory data, HazMat response contact information. Supplemental information can be printed in color to convey additional information and support corporate brand standards.

Label size requirements

Note than in the EU, pictograms are required to be at least 1/15 of the label size.

Container Minimum size label (mm)
<3> 74 x 52
3-5 liters 105 x 74
5-500 liters 148 x 105
>500 liters 210 x 148

GHS Label Printing Considerations

Monochromatic (one-color) label printing has been customary at chemical manufacturing and warehousing facilities. But that’s changing — in almost all countries, GHS pictograms require a red border. While using label media preprinted with red diamonds is an option, this method relies on the operator to choose media with the proper number and arrangement of red diamonds. A simple user error could result in non-compliance and fines.

In addition, any product needing an International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) certification will also need a label that meets the BS5609 specifications for adhesion and colorfastness in saltwater. While BS5609 compliance is largely dependent on the media used to print the label, not all printing systems can produce a label that will pass the required testing.

Many of our partners offer printers designed specifically to help chemical companies meet the new GHS standards. And since BarTender’s print architecture is built on Microsoft’s driver standards, we are an adaptable part of your GHS solution, no matter which Windows printer you select.

For more information on GHS-compliant printing, contact us and we’ll connect you with a BarTender reseller who can help you make the right choice for your business.

BarTender and GHS: Dependable. Scalable. Adaptable.

BarTender® is the secure and trusted labeling software that adapts to meet the global regulations and business demands of the chemical industry.

With BarTender, you can create and automate the production of GHS labels, with centralized control and security. Use BarTender to connect your product and regulatory data to a wide variety of printers, with the same straightforward support for one printer at a single facility as for thousands of printers from multiple printer families across your global network.

Every edition of BarTender supports every modern writing system, enabling your company’s global growth and compliance strategies. A font-based collection of GHS characters is also included: Use it to print pictograms on preformatted label media, or to create your own red-bordered pictograms.

The BarTender sample label template

Automating your GHS labeling deployment can minimize the risk of user error that comes with manual systems, and can help provide interoperability in your facility and throughout your supply chain. Chemical companies around the world are creating and automating their GHS labeling programs based on the technology in the sample label included in the BarTender Automation and Enterprise Automation editions.

Use the BarTender sample label as your starting point as you automate the production of your GHS labels. The sample label provides the connection between your data  — whether sourced from a global ERP system, third-party database, internal database or even a spreadsheet stored on your hard drive — and your printer. The label data can be tied to the product’s SDS, helping simplify your facility’s process flow while meeting EHS&S initiatives. Built-in business rules help manage pictogram compliance, and BarTender’s pictogram autosize feature enables maximum use of your label’s real estate and optimum visibility for safety.

Your trusted GHS partner

BarTender is your trusted GHS partner. View our short video and learn how easy it is to make GHS-compliant labels with BarTender. Watch our webinar to learn what you need to know about GHS and deploying the right solution for your business. Tab through this webpage, and explore its interactive content — learn everything you need to know about the GHS system: Label elements, global deadlines, printing considerations.

Which BarTender is right for you?

Select an edition below to learn more, or download the free 30-day trial to explore all of BarTender’s features and see how it can solve your toughest needs for labeling, barcoding and more. Or contact us to learn more about why BarTender is the most trusted software of its kind.

(Design and Print)

Basic Edition

Professional Edition

Get started in just minutes!

All Basic features, plus:

  • Design and print labels, cards, mag stripe cards and more.
  • Optimize print speed to any printer or marking device.
  • Design data-entry forms that provide data validation and accept print-time input from the keyboard or a barcode scanner.

Licensed per PC

  • Read data from CSV files, databases and Excel. Easily search and select records for printing.
  • Encode RFID labels.

Licensed per PC

Create & Automate
(Design, Print and Control)

Automation Edition

Enterprise Automation Edition

All Professional features, plus:

All Automation features, plus:

  • Automatically print from any OS, system or device in response to data transactions and SDK requests.
  • Design using Intelligent TemplatesTM to reduce maintenance.
  • Secure the printing environment with user and group roles.
  • Monitor live print status and view detailed history of system usage.

Licensed per printer

  • Print from any iOS or Android device with the BarTender Print Portal App
  • Automatically print in response to Web service API or TCP/IP communication.
  • Integrate with SAP and Oracle.
  • Take advantage of centralized system management, browser-hosted printing, centralized template storage with revision control, electronic signature support, full SDK control, smart card encoding and more.

Licensed per printer

(Please note that Print Only editions have been discontinued as of BarTender 2016.)

Related information

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Global Harmonization System (GHS)

GHS was intended to create a clear and consistent method of communicating about chemicals through labeling and documentation. But chemical companies are finding the requirements anything but clear and consistent. Learn about GHS and how BarTender can help your company with compliance, no matter where in the world you operate.

Case Study
GHS labeling project simplifies compliance, cuts costs

BarTender is at the heart of a scalable, adaptable labeling solution that is helping a growing chemical manufacturer comply with GHS and other industry regulations while also reducing costs as the company grows through acquisition of new businesses, brands and product portfolios.

PDF Sheet
Chemical compliance labeling simplified

More about BarTender and chemical labeling in this downloadable resource.


More Information

Industry Solution
BarTender for chemical labeling

GHS label elements

GHS label elements
H-statements and P-statements

Industry Solution
BarTender for supply chain labeling management

PDF Sheet
BarTender for Chemical Labeling

Case Study
GHS labeling project simplifies compliance, cuts costs

BarTender Overview

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Our Customers Say

"BarTender’s ability to integrate with any ERP and Safety Data Sheet authoring and management system, coupled with its easy-to-use and powerful Intelligent Templates™, has made it our go-to software product for integrating and solving the challenges associated with GHS compliance labeling in all of our chemical customers."
—Rick Schilling, President, Integrated Productivity Systems (IPSi)