Product Development, Advertising,
Use of Products & Services

Products with life-threatening properties not properly labelled


The right to physical and mental health is a fundamental human right that ensures the dignity of the human person, and includes access to safe water, food, working and environmental conditions. Some products may have life-threatening properties if used incorrectly. These products must be properly labelled (including in accordance with applicable national standards) to protect against misuse and reduce the risk of them causing injury to either employees or consumers.


It is essential, therefore, that businesses correctly label their products to reduce the risk they will be misused and cause injury either to employees or consumers.


Businesses can reduce the risk of injury by ensuring all products and chemicals are accurately labelled. Labels should be clear and easy to read and understand in the language of both workers and consumers. For chemical products, labels should comply with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. Employers should also provide easy-to-read health and safety data sheets to employees and maintain these to ensure workers are informed of the risks of handling the business’s products.

Businesses should ensure employees and contractors remain up-to-date and informed of product safety risks and understand the importance of maintaining proper labelling. Employers can do this by implementing ongoing training programmes on their safety practices and procedures. Businesses should incorporate obligations with respect to ensuring accurate product labelling in their subcontracts where contractors are responsible for applying the Business’s product labels.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, Article 12
Convention concerning Safety in the use of Chemicals at Work, 1990 (No. 170)
Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, 2011

SDG 12


SDG 12.4

Businesses that ensure their products properly label potentially hazardous chemicals, may contribute to SDG 12.4, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.