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old HMIS labelGHS Compliant Labels

Are you ready to meet the new chemical labeling requirements?

We can help!

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officially has adopted a ruling that changes its Hazard Communication Standard (old HCS label at right) to match the guidelines of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

This new labeling system sets out to reduce confusion, create a standard process, and educate users.

In 1994, OSHA mandated that containers with hazardous chemicals must be labeled with a product identifier and hazard statements appropriate for each hazardous chemical.

For years Weber customers were able to use blank thermal-transfer labels or direct-thermal labels to print this product and hazard information.

Other companies ordered pre-printed color labels using the Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) boxes and then imprinted specific safety information on-site. They were able to variably imprint their individual products' Health, Flammability, Reactivity and Personal Protection ratings.

But starting in 2015, those elements alone will no longer be compliant with OSHA. Manufacturers will be able to continue to use the HMIS information on their labels, but they also will be required to include more specific elements that are in the new GHS guidelines.

The New GHS Compliant Labels
GHS label pictogram chartThe new labels must include six parts:

  1. Product Identifier
  2. Signal Word
  3. Hazard Statements
  4. Precautionary Statements
  5. Supplier Identification
  6. Pictograms

Depending on the hazard severity of the chemical, each label will include at least one of these nine pictogram warning symbols (click chart to enlarge):

This change will not only promote a safer work environment but also make American companies globally competitive since many other countries around the world already require GHS labeling.

What will be difficult for chemical manufacturers and users is the fact that they may not be able to use just one template for multiple products.  Every pictogram needs to have a red border and each one needs to be filled in with only one of the nine designated symbols.

For example, they cannot use a preprinted label with nine empty red diamonds and then imprint only the symbols on-site or even "cross out" the ones that do not apply.  Those who are used to printing variable information in black may now need a color printer to handle those changes.

GHS label diagram

When Does This Go Into Effect?

  • December 1, 2013: Employers must train employees on the new format
  • June 1, 2015: Deadline for manufacturers to start using new labels
  • December 1, 2015: Deadline for product distributors to begin using new labels
  • June 1, 2016: Deadline for updated alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program

Here's a link to FAQs concerning GHS compliance labeling that appears on OSHA's website:

Epson GP-C831 Color GHS label printer
The Weber Solution
- In-House GHS Label Printing

To make the transition easier, we recommend the Epson ColorWorks GP-C831 wide-web color inkjet label printer along with Weber's Flextuff IJ 435 material. Both are now available from your Weber account manager and through Weber's ecommerce website. Watch the video below on the left for a quick tour of the Epson GP-C831 GHS label printer.

This full-color printer will not only allow you to print the variable information, but also will permit you to print the red-and-black GHS pictograms as well as the colorful HMIS chart, NFPA diamonds, and transportation pictograms.

Weber's Flextuff IJ 430 material utilizes a durable poly facesheet. When combined with the pigmented inks of the GP -C831 printer, the result is an abrasion- and chemical-resistant image, ideal for demanding petrochemical applications. Flextuff IJ 430 is BS:5609 certified.

Another option for in-house GHS label printing is the Epson C3500 color inkjet label printer. Watch the video below at right to see how easy it is to print smaller GHS labels for chemical containers, especially those used in-house by non-chemical companies that require repackaging of chemicals to smaller containers like printing companies. This is an economical way to meet GHS requirements on a smaller scale for your company.

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