The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals or GHS is the international system created by the United Nations designed to replace the various classifications and labelling standards used in different countries by using consistent criteria for classification and labelling on a global level. This system addresses classifications of chemicals by types of hazard and proposes harmonised hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. It aims at ensuring the availability of information on physical hazards and toxicity from chemicals in order to enhance the protection of human health and the environment during the handling, transport and use of these chemicals. The GHS also provides a basis for harmonisation or rules and régulations on chemicals at national, regional and worldwide level, in order to facilitate trade.
The first edition of the GHS was published in 2003, and the fifth edition was published in 2013. GHS is voluntarily adopted by countries and jurisdictions that wish to internationally harmonise their national standards. Many countries and régions have implemented or are working on the implementation of the GHS system, or specific parts of it, into their legislation. The European Union adopted the GHS system through the CLP Regulation (EC/1272/2008). Australia, China, Canada or Japan among other countries have also implemented the GHS system at national level. GHS classification criteria are also the basis for international classification systems for the transport of dangerous goods.
The Nickel Institute works on the promotion of appropriate classifications for nickel and nickel chemicals based on sound science, with the recognition of nickel specificities; and on the facilitation of compliance by member companies. An online database, available to the Nickel Institute member companies, provides an overview of the status of the GHS implementation in key regions for the nickel industry, and nickel & nickel containing chemicals classification proposals in these regions.