GHS labelling

GHS labelling: I have a question about GHS labelling.

Does everything need to be GHS labelled, for example, common household items like sugar, salt, oil, dish wash liquid etc, etc?

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Publication Date: 08 March 2016
Asked By: Anonymous
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GHS labeling

The GHS labelling applies to hazardous chemicals. As the common household items that you have mentioned are not hazardous, then the GHS does not apply.

Consumer goods which are hazardous and which have their original label are also exempt from GHS labelling requirements if they are used in the workplace in the following manner:

  • “in a quantity that is consistent with consumer household use
  • in a way that is consistent with consumer household use, and
  • in a way that is incidental to the nature of the work carried out by a worker using the chemical.”1

For example, hazardous consumer products which are purchased in small quantities and are used by staff as cleaning agents in the laboratory would meet the above conditions.

Hazardous substances which are decanted into jars or bottles for use as reagents in class practicals should be labelled according to GHS requirements. For a decanted substance, the minimum labelling requirements are:

  • “the product identifier, and
  • a hazard pictogram or hazard statement consistent with the correct classification of the chemical.”2

Science ASSIST recommends that non-hazardous common household goods that are used as reagents in science practicals or in preparation tasks be labelled as laboratory reagents, so that they are not inadvertently used for human consumption. We suggest including on the label the words “Laboratory Reagent” and/or the precautionary statement “Not to be taken”.

It is also recommended that these common household items be transferred into suitable glass or plastic containers, particularly if they are purchased in paper bags or boxes or else in plastic bags that are prone to deteriorate over time. Combustible substances, such as paper bags or cardboard boxes should not be stored in the chemical store along with oxidising agents.

Additional information

The following information regarding GHS may be helpful:

‘An introduction to the GHS’, Health and safety fact sheet, Education Queensland website, (December 2016)

‘Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)’ Safe Work Australia website. (Accessed March 2016)

AIS: Labels for school science chemicals


  1. Safework Australia, Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practice, September 2015, Section 3.8 Consumer products, p.20, Safework Australia website,
  1. ibid., Section 3.3 Decanted or transferred hazardous chemicals, p.17

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