With the widespread usage of chemicals worldwide, a Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) has been created to standardise the hazard communication material of chemicals, for example, through chemical product labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). The aim is to ensure that the hazardous properties of chemicals can be understood world-wide in order to promote the protection of human health and the environment when handling, transporting and using chemical products.
In South Africa, the Registrar (Act 36 of 1947) distributed a notice (29 March 2022) that the GHS will be implemented nationally for chemical hazard classification, as detailed in the Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Agents 2021, released on 29 March 2021.
With the GHS implementation timeline in mind, Government Notice 2056 (29 April 2022) outlined an exemption period for chemical manufacturers/suppliers to use up their stock of non-GHS compliant products between 29 September 2022 and 30 September 2023 – this is applicable to chemicals manufactured/imported prior to 29 September 2022.
The GHS implementation will also have further implications: the Registrar (Act 36 of 1947) distributed an additional notice (14 April 2022) that active ingredients & formulations in the criteria Carcinogenicity, Mutagenicity & Reproductive Toxicity categories 1A and 1B of the GHS will be prohibited from usage starting 1 June 2024.
How will this influence the SIZA Environmental Standard?
Under Environmental Principle 1 (Minimise Negative Impacts), Code Requirement 2.2 refers to the prevention of environmental contamination from products used and processes followed during production, packing and processing activities.
SIZA members therefore need to 1) be aware of the upcoming GHS changes to be implemented on their purchased chemical products (from 29 September 2022 onwards), 2) train relevant staff on the upcoming changes and 3) discuss with chemical suppliers if any chemical products currently in use will need to be phased out by 1 June 2024, if applicable.
For information on the GHS, please feel free to follow this link: https://unece.org/about-ghs
The current version of the GHS (GHS Rev. 9, 2021) can be found here: https://unece.org/transport/standards/transport/dangerous-goods/ghs-rev9-2021
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