Dangerous goods signs and labels are crucial if your business deals with hazardous chemicals and other dangerous substances.
Among our range of signs and labels however, you’ll notice that there’s a section dedicated to GHS labels.
Now you find yourself wondering “what makes these particular signs and labels so special?”
Both have an important role to play in your workplace. They’re also completely different types of signs, used to warn against different things. If you want to keep your workplace safe (and compliant with Australian OHS laws), you’ll need to understand this difference.
Well, that’s what we’re here to answer – today, we’re going to be talking about the differences between dangerous goods signs and GHS signs.
Moreover, we’re going to explain why you need both!
4 differences between dangerous goods signs and GHS labels
We recently explained GHS signs and labels – if you don’t have time to read up on them however, here’s a quick rundown.
The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals was designed to create a globally-recognised system for chemical storage and handling.
Not only did that come with a new range of signs and labels that would be recognisable anywhere on the planet, but it also mandates other practices like creating safety data sheets for recipients and buyers of chemicals.
While they fall under the umbrella category of dangerous goods signs and labels, they’re a distinct type of sign from, say, hazchem class diamonds.
What sorts of differences are we talking about?
We may as well start with the obvious difference!
GHS signs use diamond-shaped placards, each with the same red border and simple black pictogram. There are 9 different signs that identify various chemical hazards:
- Acutely Toxic
- Gases under pressure
- Corrosive to metals
- Toxic to an aquatic environment
- Acutely toxic
By contrast, there’s a lot more visual variety to dangerous goods signs – hazchem class diamonds in particular communicate hazards and risks using a range of different colours and patterns, as well as adding in typography as well.
We could describe each of them, but that would take an entire post on its own – in fact, last time we tried to go over them, it did take up an entire post!
The size requirements of dangerous goods signs and GHS signs aren’t just chosen arbitrarily!
In addition to mandating the types of signs, the GHS also sets out mandatory dimensions for GHS signs, with different sizes geared for different viewing distances as well as whether or not it’s being attached to a container.
Dangerous goods signs and labels like hazchem class diamonds also have minimum sizes – just remember however that the measurements are different.
Depending on the situation, you might find that all the GHS signs you order will need to be a different size from your other dangerous goods signs in order to stay compliant.
Unsure which size sign you need? Our signage experts can help – on top of the signs themselves, our team are experts in all the requirements surrounding them!
3) Global recognition
While different countries require specific GHS label size requirements, the signs themselves are recognised by all countries that have signed on to this standard – that’s to say, the vast majority of them.
Other types of dangerous goods signs and labels aren’t quite as widely recognised.
If you’re only shipping things around Australia, this isn’t a big deal – if you’re transporting goods across international borders however, that’s a different story!
Hazchem as a scheme is recognised in Australia and most of the Commonwealth, with the exception of Canada (which uses US standards).
There’s no guarantee that they’ll be recognised elsewhere, however.
Does your customer base include operations overseas? Does it include countries that use a classification system other than hazchem? If so, GHS signs have you covered (not to mention, you should be including them anyway – there’s no such thing as too safe).
Dangerous goods signs aren’t only applicable to hazardous chemicals – despite the name, signs like hazchem class signs can also be used for a range of different items and articles such as airbags and batteries.
While they’re not chemicals, both of these examples are known to be hazardous in some fringe situations, thus necessitating signs under Australian OHS laws.
By contrast, GHS labels are employed almost exclusively for hazardous chemicals storage areas and containers.
When deciding which of these types of signs you need, it’s important to remember what they’re for. Do you need signs for chemical storage? If so, you’ll need a GHS sign, and probably a hazchem class diamond to go with it.
Dangerous goods signs and labels, GHS labels, hazchem signs and more, all available from our online sign shop
While there are many differences between these two types of signs, there are also a couple of similarities. In addition to keeping your team safe around chemicals, both of these types of signs are available at our online sign shop.
With nation-wide delivery and industry-leading turnaround times, we can get you the signs you need, when you need them.
Can’t find what you need in our shop? We make custom safety signs from template designs as well as clean-sheet signs, ensuring that you’re covered no matter what.
Check out our online sign shop for all of your signage needs.
You can also visit us for dangerous goods labels in Melbourne: pop into our headquarters at 122 Whitehall Street, Footscray, VIC 3011.