What do GHS, REACH, CLP or CFR mean?

Published On: 10 May 2021By Categories: SDB-ProfiTags: , , ,

Since legal ordinances are usually named in an unwieldy manner, abbreviations are found as legal references instead. However, these are often an obstacle for those interested in getting started with chemicals law.

This article summarizes a few important, overarching regulations and their meaning. To coincide with our series on safety data sheets in the United States over the next few weeks, I’ll also go over some American legal references.

What is GHS?


Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

GHS establishes a uniform standard for identifying hazardous chemicals and recognizing them using defined representations. The new pictograms, for example, are part of the GHS and can be found on hazardous substances wherever the GHS is applied. This worldwide coverage with uniform H-statements, P-statements and pictograms means that hazardous substances can also be recognized universally without having to understand the foreign language in question. A corrosive symbol is thus also recognizable, even if the manufacturer ships his products to other countries.

The GHS is updated at regular intervals. Accordingly, updates also take place in the individual jurisdictions, such as the European Union. [1]

REACH and CLP, the European regulations


Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) [2].

Classification, Labeling and Packaging (CLP) [3]

REACH and CLP are both legal texts that, among other things, transpose into European law the classifications and labels established in GHS, as well as the safety data sheet format. Both are regulations and thus immediately applicable legal texts without the need for national implementation by individual European countries.

CFR in the Unites States and Chemicals Law


Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

This term generally summarizes a group of legal regulations for the USA. Of particular interest to chemical law is 29 CFR 1910.1200 (Hazard Communication Standard), where part 1910 means Occupational Safety and Health Standards. [4]

Appendix D deals with the minimum information that should be included in a safety data sheet and thus also specifies the title and form of the individual safety data sheet sections. [5]

Appendix C describes the presentation of hazards in the label. [6]

In addition to the legislation, there are other sources that describe the preparation of safety data sheets in more detail, such as ANSI Z400.1/Z129.1, a standard for the preparation of hazardous substance evaluations, SDS and labels (“Hazardous Workplace Chemicals – Hazard Evaluation and Safety Data Sheet and Precautionary Labeling Preparation”).


[1]        GHS on the UNECE website

[2]        REACH Regulation Nr. 1907/2006 (ECHA)

[3]        CLP Regulation Nr. 1272/2008 (ECHA)

[4]        29 CFR 1910.1200 (OSHA)

[5]        29 CFR 1910.1200 App D (OSHA)

[6]        29 CFR 1910.1200 App C (OSHA)

Save time and create safety data sheets automatically with SDB-Profi!

Learn more
With GeSi³ you can quickly and automatically create plausible, multilingual REACH and CLP-compliant safety data sheets.
Learn more about SDB-Profi