So When Do I Need a GHS Label?

Now that you understand what the cute little pictorials on the new GHS labels mean, you may be wondering when you need to use a GHS label. The answer is pretty simple – you need a GHS label whenever you have a secondary container of a chemical or chemical mixture.

For instance, if you or your employer purchases a five-gallon container of, say, Isopropyl Alcohol for use in the laboratory or workplace, it will come in a container labeled with the required GHS warnings and instructions. Now if you pour some of that isopropyl alcohol into a secondary container, such as a one-pint wash bottle, you have a potentially dangerous situation – a wash bottle full of unidentified liquid that looks like water. So what do you do? Slap a ready-made HCL GHS label for Isopropyl Alcohol on that squeeze bottle and be on your way.

When do you NOT need a GHS label? This is the exception to the rule. You do not need a GHS label on your secondary container if, and only if:

  • The material in the secondary container is entirely used within the work shift of the person who transferred the material to the secondary container, AND
  • The person who transferred the material stays in the work area for the entire time that the material is being used, AND
  • The secondary container stays within the work area and in the possession of the person who transferred the material into it.

Got it? Good!  Go label those secondary containers!

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