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Linde Gases is taking steps to align its range of gases and chemicals with the forthcoming United Nations-developed international chemicals reclassification system.

In line with the new reclassification system – entitled Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) – the company has launched an initiative to help its gases customers understand and adopt the changes that will affect the way gases are transported, stored and handled across their supply chains.

To facilitate this initiative, Linde has published a detailed Gases and Applications handbook.

The handbook, which provides pictorial representations of the new GHS classification and labelling system and comparisons with existing European Union (EU) classification systems, is intended to clarify the updated property descriptions of hazardous products and their main labelling information.

The global implementation of the GHS will have an impact on more than 60 countries and will directly affect all pure gases in the EU countries from 1 December 2010, with the reclassification of gas mixtures being implemented from 2015.

While most countries have systems for the classification of hazardous chemicals – including gases – to ensure safe transportation, storage, use and disposal, to date various national or regional systems have not always been compatible.

This incompatibility has often meant the re-labelling, or the use of multiple labels, on a product, increasing the risks involved in handling gases.

For organisations operating at an international level, the need to comply with multiple regulations on hazard classification and labelling has meant that end users may perceive inconsistent label warnings, therefore increasing the risks involved in handling a particular gas, in addition to the added time or the barriers that companies may face to align their classification and labelling with local requirements.

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