The UK implements the Seventh revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of the classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS7) through the GB CLP Regulation (Classification, Labelling, and Packaging of substances and mixtures). The EU CLP Regulation (European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures) came into force in all EU Member States, including the UK, on 20 January 2009 and is retained in GB law with some minor changes. These arrangements mean that Great Britain continues to adopt GHS, independently of the European Union.
The following GHS categories are not implemented in the UK:
Chemicals under Pressure, all categories
Flammable Gas, Category 1A (Pyrophoric gases)
Flammable Gas, Category 1B
Desensitized Explosives, all categories
Flammable Liquids, Category 4
Acute Toxicity, Category 5
Skin Corrosion/Irritation, Category 3
Aspiration Hazard, Category 2
Acute Hazards to Aquatic Environment, Category 2 and 3
Substances and mixtures placed on the GB market must be classified and labelled in line with the GB CLP Regulation. The CLP Regulation defines the content of the label and the organisation of the various label elements. The label should be firmly attached to one or more of the packaging’s surfaces and must include the following elements:
Name, address, and telephone number of the supplier(s)
The nominal quantity of the substance or mixture in the packages where it is made available to the general public, unless the quantity is specified elsewhere on the package.
Product identifiers (name and EC/CAS number)
Hazards pictograms: Diamond shaped, size > 1 cm2
Relevant signal words
Precautionary statements (usually not more than six unless they are necessary to reflect the nature and the severity of the hazards)
Supplemental information where relevant
Mandatory classification is a classification that is equivalent to the harmonised classifications that exist under EU CLP but within Great Britain it has been made legally binding. The GB Mandatory Classification and Labelling list (GB MCL) contains the legally binding mandatory classification and labelling of substances that must be used when classifying and labelling substances and mixtures that are to be placed on the market in Great Britain. When a substance has an MCL listing for some or all hazard classes, it must be applied by suppliers to the GB market. The GB MCL is hosted, managed, and operated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). As of November 2022, the MCL list contains 4320 substances. If a substance does not require mandatory classification (i.e. it is not in the GB MCL list), it must be self-classified for any hazard classes not covered by the mandatory classification.
The GHS provisions on Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) in Great Britain are based on the fifth revised edition of the GHS and are implemented through Article 31 and Annex II of the UK-REACH Regulations. The requirements for SDSs under UK-REACH are the same as under EU-REACH. The responsibility for SDSs is under the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). SDS format requirements under EU REACH Annex II that were updated after 1 January 2021 (Brexit) do not apply in Great Britain. An SDS in the UK must:
Be in English
Contain the 16 standard sections
State the date it was last reviewed, or if it has not been reviewed, the date it was prepared.
Contain an emergency contact number
The SDS must contain the information necessary to allow employers to do a risk assessment as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. The SDS itself is not an assessment. However, it describes the hazards helping employers assess the probability of those hazards arising in the workplace.
In the UK, the national transport of dangerous goods is regulated under the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (CDG) Regulations 2009 which came into force on 1 July 2009. The security provisions of the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Good by Road (ADR) and the Regulations Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Good by Rail (RID) apply in the UK through Regulation 5 of the CDG. Pictograms of chemical hazards used in ADR are based on the GHS transport labelling pictograms.
GHS implementation status
Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
For background information on the GHS and the GB CLP refer to:
Transport of dangerous goods
For international transport of dangerous goods, see “Implementation through international legal instruments, recommendations, codes and guidelines”
For background information and legislation covering the transport of dangerous goods in the UK refer to the information provided at:
Implemented (as from 20 January 2009)
The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020.
Information about the impact of the United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union in chemicals legislation is available at the European Chemicals Agency and the UK Government websites.
The UK implements the 7th revised edition of the GHS through the GB CLP Regulation while the GHS provisions on safety data sheets from the 5th revised edition of the GHS are implemented through Article 31 and Annex II of the United Kingdom REACH Regulations.
GB CLP Regulation implements the GHS in the following sectors: workplace; environment; consumer; and the transport of non-dangerous goods.