Classification systems

3. Classification systems
3.1. General
3.1.1. The competent authority, or a body approved or recognised by the
competent authority, should establish systems and specific criteria for classifying a
chemical as hazardous and should progressively extend these systems and their
application. Existing criteria for classification established by other competent authorities
or by international agreement may be followed, if they are consistent with the criteria
and methods outlined in this code, and this is encouraged where it may assist uniformity
of approach. The results of the work of the UNEP/ILO/WHO International Programme
on Chemical Safety (IPCS) coordinating group for the harmonisation of classification of
chemicals should be considered when appropriate. The responsibilities and role of
competent authorities concerning classification systems are set out in paragraphs 2.1.8
(criteria and requirements), 2.1.9 (consolidated list) and 2.1.10 (assessment of new
3.1.2. Suppliers should ensure that chemicals they supply have been classified or
that they have been identified and their properties assessed (see paragraphs 2.4.3
(assessment) and 2.4.4 (classification)).
3.1.3. Manufacturers or importers, unless exempted, should give to the competent
authority information about chemical elements and compounds not yet included in the
consolidated classification list compiled by the competent authority, prior to their use at
work (see paragraph 2.1.10 (assessment of new chemicals)).
3.1.4. The limited quantities of a new chemical required for research and
development purposes may be produced by, handled in, and transported between
laboratories and pilot plant before all hazards of this chemical are known in accordance
with national laws and regulations. All available information found in literature or
known to the employer from his or her experience with similar chemicals and
applications should be fully taken into account, and adequate protection measures
should be applied, as if the chemical were hazardous. The workers involved must be
informed about the actual hazard information as it becomes known.
3.2. Criteria for classification
3.2.1. The criteria for the classification of chemicals should be based upon their
intrinsic health and physical hazards, including:
a) toxic properties, including both acute and chronic health effects in all parts of the
b) chemical or physical characteristics, including flammable, explosive, oxidising and
dangerously reactive properties;
c) corrosive and irritant properties;

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