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7th edition of United Nations GHS revisions available

Updated Purple Book provides updates to chemical classifications

Posted August 21, 2017

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recently published the seventh revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The publication, more commonly known as the “Purple Book,” establishes internationally agreed-upon chemical hazard classifications and communication provisions along with explanations on how to apply the system.

The Purple Book was first published in 2003 and is amended every two years to incorporate the latest scientific information developed by the United Nation’s Sub-Committee on Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.

The document is not a regulation or standard, and it does not place any requirement on OSHA to revise its Hazard Communication regulations. In 2012, OSHA aligned the federal Hazard Communication Standard to the GHS. However, the Agency is not obligated to update its standards when the UNECE updates the Purple Book.

Key revisions in the 2017 Purple Book include:

  • Updating to the criteria for categorizing flammable gases;
  • Adding a new precautionary statement for some explosives;
  • Extending coverage of section 14 of the Safety Data Sheets to all bulk cargoes transported under instruments of the International Maritime Organisation;
  • Revising definitions for some health hazards; and
  • Adding a new example of fold-out labels for small containers.

HazCom Label ManagerJ. J. Keller's HazCom Label Manager provides a step-by-step process to help you create GHS-compliant labels.


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