International Programme on Chemical Safety

International Chemical Safety Cards

International Chemical Safety Cards provide essential health and safety information on chemicals to promote their safe use. They are used at the “shop floor” level by workers, and by those responsible for health and safety in factories, agriculture, construction and other workplaces, and often form part of education and training activities. They can also be used by agencies responding to chemical incidents.

ICSCs provide information on the intrinsic hazards of specific chemicals together with first aid and fire-fighting measures, and information about precautions for spillage, disposal, storage, packaging, labelling and transport. ICSCs have no legal status and may not reflect in all cases the detailed requirements included in national legislation.

Preparation of ICSCs

ICSCs are prepared by various IPCS Participating Institutions and are finalized in the peer-review meeting.

The information in an ICSC is expressed as far as possible using standard phrases thereby helping to reinforce education and training activities as well enabling use of computer-aided translation into different languages. A Compiler's Guide is available. It provides the collection of standard phrases and criteria for their use.

ICSCs are a potential way of assisting to implement the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This capacity-building initiative is being developed through IPCS as a contribution to the GHS Partnerships in Action.


Over 1700 ICSCs are available and may be downloaded in English from the ILO web site. The documents may be searched for by ICSC reference number, Chemicals Abstract Service Registry Number (CAS), main name or synonym. They are available in 15 other languages (including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Swahili Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese as well as many European languages) from linkage to the web site at NIOSH, Cincinnati USA. Estonian ICSCs are available from their national Translating Institution web site.

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