Does GHS Require Product Testing for Hazard Classification?


Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors must update how they classify and communicate the hazards of their products under the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of SDS and Label authoring. It is mandatory to label products and provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that convey the dangers for anyone who purchases, receives, or uses the product. In addition, they must maintain records supporting the hazard classifications.

Hazard classification is the process of assessing the full spectrum of scientific evidence available to determine if a chemical is hazardous and to identify the severity level of the hazard. The evaluation specifies the chemical’s hazard class(es) and associated GHS hazard category when complete.

The chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer must conduct a thorough product evaluation, examine the full range of available data, and produce a scientifically defensible assessment of the chemical hazards when identifying a hazard classification for GHS. In addition, they must consider all potential physical or health risks associated with a chemical’s use.

GHS classification of hazards is divided into both class and category. These describe the nature and, if relevant, the degree of danger of the chemical product.

GHS defines the nature and severity of a chemical hazard by hazard class and hazard category:

  • GHS hazard class represents the nature of a chemical hazard, i.e., flammable liquids or carcinogens.
  • GHS hazard category is the division of criteria within each hazard class. For example, hazard class flammable liquids can be divided into four categories, among which flammable liquids category 1 represents the most severe hazard.

There are, in total, 29 GHS hazard classes in UN GHS Rev. 6. They describe three main types of chemical hazards: physical, health, and environmental.


The Step-by-Step Process to Classifying a Hazard

Below are the basic steps for auditing your chemical products to classify them under GHS standards correctly:

  • Identify the applicable data regarding the hazards of the chemical.
  • Determine if the chemical is dangerous based on its physical, health, and environmental hazards.
  • Test your chemicals or consult with scientific evidence to define how the above information classifies the material.
  • Identify each hazard class that applies to each chemical.
  • Identify the chemical’s hazard category within each class to determine its severity.

Suppliers must evaluate products covered by the Hazardous Products Act against detailed criteria as required by the Hazardous Products Regulations. If the product meets any of the criteria for a hazard class, it is considered a hazardous product. All hazardous products must be labelled according to the regulations and have a corresponding Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Section 2 (Hazard Identification) of the SDS will provide the hazard class and category. Each hazard class or category must use precise pictograms and other label elements to exhibit the hazard present and what preventive measures must be taken. You can use the information provided by the label and SDS to be advised and to know how to safely use, handle, store and dispose of the hazardous product.



If you have any questions regarding GHS requirements for your product hazard classification, please feel free to reach out to Global Hazmat, and we can help. In addition, we offer training and consulting for WHMIS 2015 / GHS.