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Labelling Elements

Hazard pictograms, signal words, hazard statements, precautionary statements

The changeover in the labelling of hazardous substances and mixtures to fulfil the requirements of the CLP Regulation has resulted in a variety of new classification elements. Find out here which elements are now available and what they look like.

three hazard symbols on a laboratory bottle

The labelling elements required by the CLP Regulation include:

  • Hazard pictograms
  • The signal word ("Danger" or "Warning")
  • Hazard statements
  • Precautionary statements
  • Further details such as the product name, supplier, etc.

For certain substances and mixtures, specific information is also included on the label: 

  • Supplementary hazard information/supplementary information for certain mixtures (EUH phrases)

Pictograms and signal word

Hazard pictograms inform strikingly about the dangers, which a hazardous substance or mixture may pose to our health and environment.

The hazard pictograms have the form of a red diamond with a black symbol on a white background, and replace the no longer valid orange rectangular symbols. While most of the hazard pictograms are closely related to the previous hazard symbols, the pictograms, which show a gas bottle, an exclamation mark and a torso, are new elements in hazard communication. Since the old EU directives expired, the St. Andrew's cross used until then, no longer has any function. The hazard descriptions previously assigned to the orange-coloured hazard symbols such as "toxic", "corrosive", and "highly flammable" have also been omitted.

The "torso" pictogram (GHS08, Health Hazard) deserves particular attention.  Combined with the signal word "danger", it signalises that very serious damage to health is possible, which is characterised by its delayed impact.

Pictogram GHS08 Health hazard ("torso") GHS08-Health hazard

Image / Video 1/9

GHS08-Health hazard

In addition to the hazard pictograms, a signal word provides an additional, easily understandable indication on the extent of the possible hazard posed by a substance or a mixture. A distinction is made between the following two signal words:

  • "Danger" refers to a serious hazard category.

  • "Warning" refers to a less serious hazard category.

Only one of the two signal words appears on the label, if required.

Hazard and precautionary statements

On 1st June 2015, the Hazard statements (H phrases) and precautionary statements (P phrases) replaced the old R and S phrases from the former, and no longer valid, 67/548/EEC Directive. The wording of the H and R phrases and the P and S phrases is very similar.

The hazard and precautionary statements of the CLP-Regulation are coded in the form of three-figure numbers. The letter H describes a specific hazard statement. The letter P at the start of the code defines a precautionary statement.

The numbering has the following structure:

Hazard information
The H statements (hazard statements) are coded as follows:
H2** – physical hazards
H3** – health hazards
H4** – environmental hazards

Safety information
The P statements (precautionary statements) are coded as follows:
P1** – general
P2** – prevention
P3** – response
P4** – storage
P5** – disposal

Information on labelling

The CLP Regulation stipulates a total of 29 hazard classes for the description of the different hazards. The old system, by contrast, only used nine categories of danger. Hence, the number of elements for the communication of dangers on the label has increased distinctly.

To prevent the label from being overloaded with data, Article 28 (3) of the CLP Regulation states, that the number of precautionary statements should be limited to six, if possible. There is no comparable arrangement for the hazard statements.

According to Article 32 (1) of the CLP Regulation, the hazard pictograms, signal words, hazard information and safety information have to be placed together as a unit on the label.

Supplementary hazard statements/ Supplementary information for certain mixtures

In addition to the H and P-statements, there are also the "EUH statements", which are additional labelling elements of the CLP Regulation, which have no equivalent in the UN-GHS. They were previously used in the scope of the former EU regulations, and they continue to be required in the European Union when necessary. 

Supplementary hazard statements according to Annex II, part 1 of the CLP Regulation are assigned to specific classified hazardous substances and mixtures. Supplementary labelling elements according to Annex II, part 2 of the CLP Regulation, are only required for mixtures which do not necessarily have to be classified and labelled as being hazardous.

Further help and explanations about the CLP Regulation are available via the links provided on this page. You can also order information material, such as the GHS memo card "Hazardous substances compact", which addresses the meaning of the new pictograms, as well as posters on the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) in the EU.

Hazard pictograms and further elements on the label



CLP - Assessment Unit OSH

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Friedrich-Henkel-Weg 1-25 D-44149 Dortmund Germany

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