The Signal Word

The Signal Word is used on a CLP/ GHS label to convey the overall level of severity of the product.  This means there is only one Signal Word per label.

There are three levels of severity:

  • Danger (most severe hazard)
  • Warning (medium hazard)
  • No signal word placed on the label (low hazard)

Signal Word precedence (click on image to enlarge it).

Note that if there is no signal word, it should be completely absent from the label, you can’t put on text on the label saying “no signal word”.  However you may be able to put this text in Section 2.2 of the SDS, as a clarification.

As the Signal Word applies to the overall hazard level on the product, you cannot easily tell which individual hazards are high level and which are not. For this information, you need to check the classifications and H statements, which for most people is the “small print” (and who bothers to read that?).

This means that a CLP/GHS label is less effective at giving useful information quickly than a CHIP label, which gave hazard plus level through the indications of danger, eg F+ (extremely flammable), T (toxic) was different to F (highly flammable), T+ (very toxic).

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