Frequently Asked Questions GHS Pictograms

(GHS) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

GHS Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals  

Please note that OSHA maintains the most up-to-date information on GHS and may have a more comprehensive list of the latest frequently asked questions. Please visit OSHA for more information.

What pictograms are required in the revised Hazard Communication Standard? What hazard does each identify?
There are nine pictograms under the GHS to convey the health, physical and environmental hazards. The final Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires eight of these pictograms, the exception being the environmental pictogram, as environmental hazards are not within OSHA's jurisdiction. The hazard pictograms and their corresponding hazards are shown below.

Can I use a black border on pictograms for domestic shipment?
Under the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), pictograms must have red borders. OSHA believes that the use of the red frame will increase recognition and comprehensibility. Therefore, the red frame is required regardless of whether the shipment is domestic or international.
 
Will OSHA allow blank red borders?
The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that all red borders printed on the label have a symbol printed inside it. If OSHA were to allow blank red borders, workers may be confused about what they mean and concerned that some information is missing. OSHA has determined that prohibiting the use of blank red borders on labels is necessary to provide the maximum recognition and impact of warning labels and to ensure that users do not get desensitized to the warnings placed on labels.
 
When must label information be updated?
In the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), OSHA is lifting the stay on enforcement regarding the provision to update labels when new information on hazards becomes available. Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, or employers who become newly aware of any significant information regarding the hazards of a chemical shall revise the labels for the chemical within six months of becoming aware of the new information, and shall ensure that labels on containers of hazardous chemicals shipped after that time contain the new information. If the chemical is not currently produced or imported, the chemical manufacturer, importer, distributor, or employer shall add the information to the label before the chemical is shipped or introduced into the workplace again.
 
How will workplace labelling provisions be changing under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?
The current standard provides employers with flexibility regarding the type of system to be used in their workplaces and OSHA has retained that flexibility in the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Employers may choose to label workplace containers either with the same label that would be on shipped containers for the chemical under the revised rule, or with label alternatives that meet the requirements for the standard. Alternative labelling systems such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704 Hazard Rating and the Hazardous Material Information System (HMIS) are permitted for workplace containers. However, the information supplied on these labels must be consistent with the revised HCS, e.g., no conflicting hazard warnings or pictograms.