Home / Resources / Safety Resources / GHS / Labeling for Globally Harmonized System

Requirements for Shipped Container and Workplace Labels Under the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

by Sallly Smart, Certified Safety Professional, W.W. Grainger, Inc.

As a part of its recent revision of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HCS), OSHA has adopted new hazardous chemical labeling requirements that align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The revised standard requires that information about chemical hazards be displayed on labels using quick visual notations. These labels must also provide instructions on how to handle the chemical so users will know how to protect themselves. It is important to note that Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are the more complete resource for details regarding hazardous chemicals.

GHS Compliant Labels

Requirements for Shipped Container and Workplace Labels under the revised Hazard Communication standard and the incorporated Global Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

shipped container label requirements

The shipped container label with the six elements shown below must be affixed to, printed on or attached to the immediate container of the chemical, or to the outside packaging.

Shipped Container Label


The general requirements for workplace labeling have not changed. Employers have the flexibility to determine what types of workplace labels they will use. They may choose to label workplace containers either with the same label information used on the shipped containers or with alternate labels that meet the requirements of the standard, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704 diamond.

If using NFPA 704 labeling, employers must, through training, ensure that its employees are fully aware of the hazards of the chemicals used.


NFPA 704 is a simple, recognizable and easily understood system of labeling that provides a general idea of the hazards of the material. Some safety data sheets (SDSs) may provide the NFPA diamond with hazard ratings filled in. If the diamond is not provided, you can collect information on the hazards from the following sections of the SDS:

NFPA Diamond

Download Infographic pdf