GHS compliance in the global harmonized system

Posted By: Trace One

GHS compliance in the global harmonized system The harmonized global chemical classification and labelling (GHS) system is a standard developed by the United Nations to harmonize the classification and labelling of chemicals globally.

More specifically, the UN GHS document, known as the Purple Book of the UN GHS:

  • defines the physical, health and environmental hazards of chemicals and harmonizes classification criteria;
  • standardizes the content and format of the chemical label and safety data sheet.

The Purple Book is updated generically every two years and to date the latest version is the eighth, published in 2019.

What does the adoption of GHS mean?

As an international voluntary system, GHS is not legally binding in any country. Therefore, countries that adopt GHS must enact their own regulations or standards to implement GHS criteria and regulations.

GHS in practice

Since 2003, thanks to the publication of the first edition of GHS, many nations have decided to adopt this harmonized classification system. GHS uses a "building blocks" approach, where nations can freely decide which elements to apply in accordance with specific needs.

The consequence

By virtue of this, each nation can decide which classes and categories of danger to implement in its own regulation. As a result, the various regulations may differ from each other, with different results for the classification of chemicals. A specific layout for the Safety Data Sheet and label can also be decided, which can contain elements specific to the specific country.

The solution in practice

Trace One solutions make it easy to manage GHS from various countries around the world, so you can classify and issue your Safety Data Sheet in accordance with the current target regulations. In addition to providing the calculation engines and models for SDS generation, there are numerous packages and data sources (DSR, Datapackage or importing data from third parties, e.g.: LOLI) so that you can manage everything more easily.

To find out all the solutions available for Trace One SDS Authoring Professional, Trace One SDS Authoring Corporate, Trace One Devex PLM and HSM contact our Customer Service at

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