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GHS7 Hazardous Substances

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

The seventh revised edition of the Global Harmonised System (GHS7) has been adopted as New Zealand’s official hazard classification system. It takes effect from the 30th April 2021.

GHS7 is an international hazard classification system for chemicals created by the United Nations. The classifications are communicated on labels and Safety Data Sheets, including the safe way to store, use and dispose of chemicals.

It has been adopted by more than 50 countries, including all of New Zealand’s

major trading partners.

Major Changes

  • These changes will phase in over a prior of 4 years (30th April 2021 - 30th April 2025) at which time it will become regulatory requirement.

  • All new hazardous substance products for approval to be licensed in NZ after April 2021, are required to be aligned to the GHS7 worldwide standard instead of the 2001 HASNO model we are currently familiar with.

  • The adoption of GHS7 is a generalised comment only, possibly 5% or so of NZ’s classification approach will be retained.

  • GHS7 will impact classifications and communications in the workplace, or safety data sheets, product labelling for use and retail sale products.

  • Pictograms will also have some changes.

  • Many products produced by worldwide chemical suppliers already cater for GHS7 requirements.

What do the changes look like?

We are still awaiting for more clarity. This will involve sure and steady change as

hazardous substances product classification and how it impacts society and business

requirements is a complicated area.


The classes we know and like will be phased out (classes 1 - 9). These will be replaced

by only 3 classes: Class 1: Physical Hazards; Class 2: Health Hazards; Class 3:

Environmental Hazards.

Class 1: Physical Hazards = Current Class 1 to Class 5 Oxidizers

Class 2: Health Hazards = Current Class 6 to 8 (clarification on radiation is still to

come, as this falls under Radiation Safety Act 2016)

Class 3: Environmental Hazards = Current Class 9 Ecotoxic

For more information regarding these classes:

Hazard Communications

A standardisation of all terms and definitions to being exactly the same as fixed

content. A GHS label will contain:

  • Pictograms

  • Signal Words

  • Hazardous Statements

  • Precautionary Statements and Pictograms

  • Product Identifier

  • Supplier Information

What do the changes look like? - Continued

Signal Words

For all products one signal word will be allocated to products.

Either ‘Danger’ or for more sever hazard categories or ‘Warning’ for less severe

identifier, Supplier information.

Hazard Statements

A short phrase descriptor, such as ‘highly flammable liquid and vapour’ or ‘toxic in

content with skin’.

Hazard Statements come with fixed codes and short fixed phrase descriptors.

Precautionary Statements

Categorised under headings General, Prevention Codes, Response, Storage Codes,

Disposal Codes.

Precautionary Statements also usually come with associated fixed codes.

The GHS 7 standard, EPA and the manufacturer creating / selling a product determine

what prescribed information is relevant for being on the Safety Data Sheet and any

label for product to be sold.

Safety Data Sheets Remain Unchanged

The major framework of a Safety Data Sheet remains unchanged. You

will still be able to find the following information on them.

  • Identification

  • Hazard(s) identification

  • Comparison / Information on ingredients

  • First Aid Measures

  • Fire Fighting Measures

  • Accidental release measures

  • Handling and storage

  • Exposure controls / Personal Protection

  • Physical and chemical properties

  • Stability and reactivity

  • Toxicological information

  • Ecological information

  • Disposal considerations

  • Transport information

  • Regulatory information

  • Other information

Sample Comparison

Sample comparison between current HASNO Classification and GHS 7 (Diesel)

Diesel Fuel SDS Sample of Precautionary Statements (not whole list)

What do I need to do?

At this stage you only need to communicate to workers, who work with Hazardous

Substances, to inform them of the upcoming changes to regulations and keep an eye

out for any further communications. We expect this will be a slow gradual roll out and

we will update our Hazardous Substances template as we know more.

Need Assistance?

Have questions about these changes and how it effects your business? Contact our team at

Download PDF • 669KB

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