GHS chemical labels: v7 changes in Australia and New Zealand

On the verge of version 7. Read what will change for GHS chemical labels and classification in Australia and New Zealand.

Laura Voikar

by Laura Voikar

Published in 2017, the 7th version of Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS 7)  varies in its status around the world. While some regions are transitioning to align with the changes to GHS chemical labels and classification, others have yet to finalize the proposal’s adoption.

New Zealand: GHS chemical labels 7 in effect 30 April.

New Zealand has adopted GHS 7 as its official hazard classification system, taking effect on 30 April 2021. The country plans to implement the new version via its Hazardous Substances (Hazard Classification) Notice 2020, which will replace the 2001 Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) classification system.

Substances with an individual approval issued after this date must comply with GHS 7. Additionally, companies must check their substances’ assigned approvals and verify that self-assignment records are up to date after the new notice’s effectual date. However, substances approved before 30 April 2021 and those managed under a group standard, have a 4-year transition period to comply with the updated Labelling, SDS, and Packaging Notices.

Australia: Moving toward GHS chemical labels enforcement in 2023.

On 1 January of this year, Australia started its official 2-year transition period to GHS 7 from the 3rd revised edition of GHS (GHS 3). Through 2022, companies can use either GHS 3 or GHS 7 to classify hazardous chemicals as well as to prepare labels and SDS. However, as of 31 December 2022, GHS 3 will no longer be acceptable. Any chemical manufactured in or imported into this country from 1 January 2023 must be classified, labeled, and possess an SDS prepared following GHS 7.

Stocks & steps ahead of enforcement.

Companies should already start reviewing and updating their chemicals’ classification, labels, and SDS. If a revised statement is part of a company’s updates, it will need to add new precautionary statements to its labels and SDS.

It’s important to note that suppliers and users of hazardous chemicals are only partially affected by this change. They may continue to supply and use chemicals classified and labeled under GHS 3 until their stock runs out, even if that occurs after 31 December 2022. However, as the transition period has already begun, suppliers should only accept new stock that is classified and labeled according to GHS 7.

Operating in the US or Canada? Learn about key considerations for businesses in these countries: “GHS chemical labels: Key dates for v7 in US and Canada”

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