Information on hazardous chemical labels

If you manufacture or import hazardous chemicals, you must make sure they are clearly labelled. A hazardous chemical is correctly labelled if it is packed in a container that is clearly labelled with specific information about the hazards.  

Requirements for hazardous chemical labels 

Classification information must be presented on the hazardous chemical’s label. Australia uses the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals for the classification of hazardous chemicals. 

Transitioning from GHS 3 to GHS 7

Australia started a transition from the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) 3 to GHS 7 on 1 January 2021. This affected all businesses that manufacture, import, supply or use hazardous chemicals. The transition period will end on 31 December 2022, and from 1 January 2023, only GHS 7 may be used to classify and label chemicals in Australia. You can find more information on our Transition to GHS 7 page.

A hazardous chemical is correctly labelled if it is packed in a container and has a label written in English. 

Pictograms and text on the label should be clear. 

The label must also be firmly fixed to the hazardous chemical’s container. It should not be hidden or in a spot where it could be removed, such as on the lid.  

The label must include the: 

  • product identifier 

  • manufacturer’s or importer’s name, Australian address and business telephone number 

  • identity and proportion of each ingredient, as per Schedule 8 to the model WHS Regulations 

  • signal word consistent with the hazardous chemical’s classification 

  • hazard and precautionary statements consistent with the hazardous chemical’s classification, and  

  • expiry date, if available. 

The label must also include other information that is not part of the hazard statement or precautionary statement, including: 

  • hazards 

  • first aid 

  • emergency procedures. 

The label should also include an emergency phone number for poisons or treatment advice. 

The model Code of Practice: Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals has more information on WHS labels. 

Labelling chemicals during the transition to GHS 7 

From 1 January 2023, manufacturers and importer can only classify, label or prepare safety data sheets using GHS 7 for chemicals manufactured after this date. 

During the transition to GHS 7, manufacturers and importers can use either GHS 3 or GHS 7 for classifications, labels and safety data sheets (SDS) of hazardous chemicals.  

You can find more information on our GHS 7 Transition page.  

Labelling chemicals from overseas 

Labels for hazardous workplace chemicals must be prepared in accordance with the GHS requirements and model WHS Regulations. Overseas labels may not include specific information that is required by the model WHS Regulations, such as the contact details of the Australian importer.  

Australian importers of hazardous chemicals must: 

Using labels from the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail 

The Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code) sets out the requirements for transporting dangerous goods by road or rail. 

You may: 

  • substitute the GHS pictograms with AGD class labels, if they represent the same hazard 

  • include GHS pictograms and ADG class labels for separate hazards on a label for a workplace chemical.  

You should not use an AGD class label and a GHS pictogram for the same hazard. 

For example: 

  • you can substitute the GHS flame pictogram with the ADG flammable liquid class label when both apply to the product 

  • you should not include the GHS flame pictogram and the ADG flammable liquid class label together on the same label for a workplace chemical. 

 

GHS Flame Pictogram

ADG Flammable Liquid
Class Label

 

The ADG Code has minimum sizes for ADG class labels. When making labels to meet both WHS and transport requirements, you must meet the ADG Code. 

The model Code of Practice: Labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals compares GHS and ADG pictograms and has examples of combination labels.

Supporting information