Dangerous goods need to be labelled – it’s a pretty important part of staying safe around dangerous goods!
Of course, it isn’t quite as simple as slapping on a sticker and calling it a day – among the myriad things you’ll need to understand include understanding the many different kinds of labels and signage.
Why? It’s simple.
If you and your team aren’t aware of the differences between signs and the individual purposes labels fulfill, then those labels and signs won’t work. Not to mention, you could also land in hot water legally-speaking if you use the wrong type of dangerous goods sign!
Two particularly important things you’ll need to know with regards to dangerous goods labels is the difference between GHS labels and dangerous goods labels.
If you get confused with these two, that’s okay! You certainly wouldn’t be the first – that’s why we’re writing about today’s topic, after all.
Dangerous goods labels and what they mean
Well a transport label can be a GHS label but not all GHS labels are transport labels.
While both are examples of dangerous goods labels, they also provide different information and are used in different applications.
So, what’s the difference?
Like the name suggests, class diamonds are a type of dangerous goods label that’s used in the transport of dangerous and hazardous goods to classify the substance.
Each dangerous and hazardous good is categorised depending on:
- Fire risk
- Associated danger
- Storage requirements
- Clean-up procedure
Class diamonds are mandatory in the transport of dangerous goods. In many cases, they can be used individually as a standalone sign, or as part of a transport emergency information panel (EIP) alongside other relevant information.
A couple of unifying factors include:
- Text that identifies substance and risk (example: “flammable gas”)
- An internationally recognised icon (mandated by GHS – more on that later)
- The class the substance belongs to (classes run from 1-9)
- Bold, unmissable colours (each class has its own combination)
As a distributor, your duty of care extends beyond your employees to everyone who may be affected by your operations and the products you carry. That includes delivery drivers and fellow motorists too.
Therefore, each shipment you send out will need to be secured, safe and accompanied by a class diamond.
That’s also why we here at Signsmart offer class diamonds in both metal and self-adhesive varieties. This way, you can attach them to just about any type of cargo or shipment.
GHS signs, explained
Above, we mentioned that class diamonds make use of internationally-recognised, standardised icons. That’s where the GHS comes in…
But before we explain what GHS signs, we first need to explain the GHS.
Standing for Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS for short), this scheme is an internationally-recognised standard that’s used to classify and communicate different hazards and chemical classifications.
In particular, GHS sets out internationally-recognised icons and graphics to communicate specific hazards and dangers.
Like the name suggests, GHS labels are recognised all over the world (the G stands for “global”, after all).
They were first developed by the United Nations in 1992 in order to provide a globally recognised way of identifying chemicals and substances. Ever since 2016, they’ve been mandatory for all Australian businesses that deal in hazardous and dangerous chemicals.
Unlike class diamonds (which make use of GHS icons and graphics), dedicated GHS signs are much more direct:
- No text whatsoever
- Plain black-and-white with a red outline
- The focus is on the icon
Signsmart’s range of GHS signs come in a variety of sizes, and are also available in rolls of up to 500 labels.
How these two types of signs can be used together
Okay, so now we’ve established the differences between these two types of sign. Now for the next question: how can you use them together to maximise your safety?
As we mentioned above, class diamonds use GHS icons. However, from a distance it may be hard to properly make out the icon.
If you’re worried about visibility, you can enhance your signage with a GHS sign that more clearly communicates the danger. Thanks to the larger graphic and the black-and-white colours, GHS signs can be much more visible.
Of course, GHS signs also don’t communicate the class the substance belongs to, or the specific type of danger posed – that’s why class diamonds and GHS signs are so often employed together!
Need dangerous goods labels? Browse Signsmart’s range of signage
We have GHS labels, class signs, emergency information panels and more!
The typical workplace needs a lot of different signs to cover all the potential hazards, especially for businesses that ply their trade transporting dangerous goods.
Of course, GHS labels and class diamonds are just two of the signs you’ll need – you may also need:
Thanks to our huge catalogue of signs, we can dispatch essential workplace safety signs to workplaces all over Australia – in many cases, by the end of the day!
It doesn’t matter what kind of signage your workplace needs – our team can deliver. We provide a large variety of workplace signage. What’s more, we’ll also help you choose appropriate signage for your business.
Just tell us what goods you work with and we’ll figure out everything else, including OHS requirements, legal obligations and more.