The ILO initiated this project as a follow-up to the adoption of the Chemicals Convention, 1990 (No. 170) and steered its development under the umbrella of first the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) and then the Inter-Organisation Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC). It was carried out by three focal points, namely the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the harmonization of classification criteria for health and environmental hazards, the UN Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (CETDG) for physical hazards and the ILO for the harmonization of chemical hazard communication (labelling and chemical safety data sheets). Over 200 experts, including employers and workers, provided technical input in this project until its completion in 2001.
In order to provide a mechanism for maintaining and promoting application of the GHS by member states, the UN Economic and Social Council decided in 1999 to reconfigure the CETDG s as the UN Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. At its December 2002 Session in Geneva, the full Committee adopted the final version of the GHS which has now been officially published in the six languages of the UN.
The GHS has been designed to cover all chemicals including pure substances and mixtures and to provide for the chemical hazard communication requirements of the work place, transport of dangerous goods, consumers and the environment. As such it is a truly harmonized and universal technical standard that will have a far-reaching impact on all national and international chemical safety regulations.
UNITAR/ILO/OECD WSSD Global Partnership for Capacity Building to Implement the GHS
The goal of the WSSD Global Partnership for Capacity Building to Implement the GHS is to strengthen capacities at all levels and sectors--in particular in developing countries--to ensure a higher degree of chemical labelling and related precautionary measures for industrial chemicals, agricultural chemicals, chemicals in transport and consumer chemicals.