Significance of GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
Many countries in the world use the United Nation’s globally harmonized system of labeling and sorting out chemicals. This is done to attain some objectives.
One aim of doing this is protecting the health of workers who process, store and transport chemicals. Another aim of this is to safeguard the environment. A unified classification system enhances trace across borders and the proper identification of hazardous levels of different chemicals. Initially, some countries had no methods of classification. Other countries on the other had different methods of chemical classification. This confused when handling the chemicals as well as an increase in chemical risk levels.
GHS safety data sheets were developed based on an extensive study. The study was meant to solve the classification differences. It’s objective was to consolidate the classification and categorization standards while ensuring high safety measures.
The classification considers the hazardous properties of the chemicals and the chemical formulation. It also takes into account the reactivity of the chemical with other chemicals, air, and water. GHS SDS was therefore made in a way to protect the people who are in the sectors of production, storage, and transportation, as well as the end user. GHS faced a lot of revisions. According to GHS rules, the content of the hazard should be properly disclosed without caring whether the confidential, as well as proprietary formulations, are exposed. This is a key feature in training employees in the use of SDS and the right procedures relating to the chemicals handled and included in the safety data sheets as well as safety labels.
When an importer or distributor receives sealed chemical containers, they should ensure that the labels remain intact. In case the container is open, a manufacturer should ensure that the data sheets are easily available to the employers handling the chemical.
GHS does not have a uniform testing method. On the other hand, it relies on the tests done by test agencies that are internationally accepted. These are OECD as well as WHO. The information in the tests consists of health and environmental hazards. In the case of physical hazards such as flammability and explosives, one may refer to UNSCETDG tests. GHS uses the data available. When new data come in place, it also incorporates it. Manufacturers and distributors therefore ought to keep these changes in mind. There is no need for labeling some chemicals. Such chemicals are pesticides such as fungicides and rodenticide.
As seen above, GHS has been substantial in bringing uniformity in categorization and classification of chemicals. It is also widely complex with exceptions and anomalies. With this, it is required that it is experts who should prepare GHS and SDS labels that are fully compliant. The experts also guard thee proprietary formulations when taking care of the exceptions.