A harmonised classification is a classification for a substance that has been agreed by independent experts at European level and endorsed by EU Member States. About 8000 substances have been assigned harmonised classifications.
A harmonised classification is legally binding and suppliers are obliged to use these classifications. The list of harmonised classifications appear in Part 3 of Annex VI of the CLP Regulation.
Proposals for harmonised classifications are made by the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). RAC’s members are experts in chemical classification and have the extensive scientific knowledge to consider carefully the available data and information. The members act independently and do not represent any particular member state or organisation. This is to ensure the transparency of the decisions being made.
More about the Risk Assessment Committee can be found here:
Once RAC has come to a decision, it publishes its opinions and asks for comments through public consultations which usually run for 45 days. RACs opinions are published on the ECHA web site. Comments should be submitted directly to ECHA/RAC. If agreed to, these classifications will enter into legal force through an amendment to Annex VI of the CLP Regulation.
Each proposed harmonised classification is subject to public consultation (usually lasting around 45 days) arranged by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). HSE encourages those affected by such proposals to consider them carefully and to provide comments directly to ECHA.
Those in industry with an interest in chemical classification should ensure they check RAC’s public consultations regularly to ensure they are kept up to date especially if substances they place on the market are affected.
The GHS/CLP Stakeholder Group is alerted to these proposals, together with details of the public consultation arrangements.
More information on RAC’s work on harmonised classification and labelling and links to public consultations, can be found here: