ghs clp label update font sizes proposal update

Why Are The CLP Regulations Being Revised?

The EC advised that the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemicals (CLP) regulation should be updated to take account of scientific and technological progress and market developments such as the online market and refilling stations for chemicals.  They agreed that a targeted update of the Regulation is needed to optimise labelling rules and to make labels more readable for consumers and end users. Their aim is to improve the communication of chemical hazards by introducing a new framework of specific rules that cover: the sale of chemicals online; chemicals sold to consumers in bulk and very small packaging; the selling of chemicals in refillable containers; advertising; digital labelling and fold-out labels.

And so, on 19th December 2022, the European Commission published a proposal to revise the CLP regulations.  Since then, several sets of amendments have been made regarding labelling, and these still need to be approved by a vote in the EU Parliament.

On the 18th December, 2023, outcomes of further meetings between the European Parliament and the European Council  were published whereby everything was provisionally agreed at technical level, apart from 4 points which were left for agreement.  This text is not likely to be subject to any further amendments and is expected to be the final version that goes to vote.

The following is a brief overview of the most current changes which are expected to pass into law (but don’t make any changes to your labels just yet!)


Obligatory Formatting Rules

Formatting rules were previously removed from the proposal but have been reinstated. Updates state that the label elements should have the following characteristics:

  • The text should be printed in black and the background of the text should be white;
  • A single font should be used that is easily legible and without serifs;
  • The letter spacing shall be appropriate for the selected font to be comfortably legible.
  • The distance between two lines shall be equal, or above, 120% of the font size – for example, for a 20 point size font the line spacing must be 24 point, or above.


Minimum Font Sizes

The minimum font sizes have changed in several updates which, alongside the increased line spacing, will make it impossible to fit all of the required elements on the labels of some products at the current recommended size.

Font sizes have now been amended to be the following sizes:

GHS CLP minimum font sizes table 2024 table

For inner packaging, where contents are less than 10ml, smaller font sizes will be permissible as long as it remains “easily legible”.


Digital Labels

Suppliers linking to a digital label shall ensure that the digital label satisfies the following general rules and technical requirements: 

  • all label elements referred to in Article 17(1) shall be provided together in one place and separated from other information; 
  •  the information on the digital label shall be searchable; 
  • the information on the digital label shall be accessible to all users in the Union and shall remain accessible for a period of at least 10 years, or for a longer period where required by other Union legislation; 
  • the digital label shall be accessible free of charge, without the need to register, download or install applications, or to provide a password; 
  • the information on the digital label shall be presented in a way that also addresses the needs of vulnerable groups and support, as relevant, the necessary adaptations to facilitate access to the information by those groups; 
  • the information on the digital label shall be accessible with no more than two clicks; 
  • the digital label shall be accessible through digital technologies widely used and compatible with all major operating systems and browsers; 
  • when the information on the digital label is accessible in more than one language, the choice of language shall not be conditioned by the geographical location when accessed.


Fold-Out Labels

The front page of the fold-out label shall include at least the following elements: 

  • name, address and phone number of supplier(s); 
  • where applicable, hazard pictograms; 
  • where applicable, signal words in all languages of the label that are used in the inside pages; 
  • where applicable, the unique formula identifier, unless printed or affixed on the inner packaging in accordance with point 5.3, Part A in Annex VIII of this Regulation; 
  • a reference to the full safety information inside the fold-out label in all languages of the label, or a symbol to inform a user that the label can be opened and to illustrate that additional information is available on inside pages; 
  • an abbreviation of the language (country code or language code) for all the languages that are used in the inside pages. 

The inner pages of the fold-out label shall contain all the label elements provided for in Article 17(1), except for the hazard pictogram and the supplier identification, in each of the languages mentioned on the front page and grouped by language, using the language abbreviation (country code or language code). 

The back page of the fold-out label shall contain all the label elements provided on the front page, except for the abbreviations of the languages that are used in the inside pages. 


Labelling Products Sold Online

When substances or mixtures are placed on the market through distance sales, such as online, the offer shall clearly and visibly indicate the label elements referred to in Article 17.’

It is proposed that the same classification, labelling and packaging obligations should apply to online sales and that chemicals sold online, in the EU market, must be in compliance with the CLP regulations.  This means that there would be an obligation for the advertisement to contain the hazard pictogram, signal word, the hazard class, and the hazard statements.



Any advertisement for a substance classified as hazardous must indicate the hazard pictograms, signal word, hazard statements and supplemental EUH statements set out in Annex II.  Any advertisement for a substance for sale to the general public must, in addition, state “always read and follow the information on the product label“. 

Any advertisement for a mixture classified as hazardous, or covered by Article 25(6), shall indicate the hazard pictograms, signal word, hazard statements and supplemental EUH statements set out in Annex II.  Any advertisement for sale of mixtures to the general public shall, in addition, indicate “always read and follow the information on the product label“.  

Any advertisement for a substance or a mixture classified as hazardous shall not contain statements that shall not appear on the label or packaging of that substance or mixture in accordance with Article 25(4). 

The hazard pictograms and signal word may be omitted where the advertisement is ‘non-visual’. 


Tactile Warnings & Child-Resistant Fastenings

Within 5 years, the Commission has proposed to assess the effectiveness of the provisions regarding tactile Warnings and child-resistant fastenings.  They may extend provisions to other hazard classes, in particular the requirements for child-resistant fastenings to eye damage category 1.

The changes, if found necessary, would be adopted through a delegated act amending Annex II without the need for further voting. 


Points of Note

  • The new label format changes will only apply in the EU, and not in the rest of the GHS jurisdictions worldwide.
  • The UK will be assessing whether the label changes might offer potential opportunities as part of consideration of potential future reforms to the GB CLP Regulation.
  • The Commission proposal and delegated act will apply in Northern Ireland under the terms of the NI Protocol. This is subject to further developments under the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill or through negotiations with the EU.

Do NOT make any amendments to your labels on the basis of these proposals – it is possible that further alterations may be implemented before the actual publication of any legal text.


Further information and related links

Analysis of Final Compromise Text

EU Delegated Act

Proposal for Revision to CLP Regulations

Paliaments proposed amendments

Consultation on the Simplification & Digitalisation of Labelling Requirements of EU Fertilising Products

Proposed New CLP Hazard Classes – TT Environmental


How Can Hibiscus Help?

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Hibiscus Plc has been providing labelling solutions for the chemical and hazardous goods industries for over 40 years.

Find out how we can improve your hazard communication compliance – Call us today: 0113 242 4272