Tips for GHS Labelling

GHS warning signs set image

The Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of classifying and labelling chemicals is a useful tool for improving the safety and efficiency with which potentially hazardous substances can be transported, stored and handled.

It is a comprehensive system that:

  • Defines the risks to health, physical safety and the environment
  • Uses available data to create chemical classification processes
  • Clearly communicates hazard information and recommended protective measures

Why is GHS labelling important?

The GHS was put into place to provide better protection for humans and the environment. By using a standardised labelling system that can be followed around the world, language barriers and localised classification systems should no longer pose a threat to safety. Not only does it provide a recognised system for countries, industries and companies without an existing system, but it makes the trade of these chemicals easier across borders. For example, if the label on an imported substance is clear and reliable, there is less need to test and re-evaluate it.

What are the key elements of GHS labelling?

There are two key elements of GHS communications – the pictogram label or placard, and the associated Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The images and text used must be consistent throughout your labelling. See the GHS Purple Book for more details.

When it comes to your GHS labels, there are a number of guidelines that should be followed. These include:

  • A signal word to indicate the level of hazard. These include phrases like “Warning” or “Danger” (which is more severe).
  • A two-tone pictogram (or multiple pictograms), with the hazard symbol printed in black surrounded by a red diamond border.
  • Information about the chemical manufacturer (company name, address etc.)
  • Precautionary statements and first aid recommendations. These can include measures for prevention, response, storage and disposal, and should be reiterated on the SDS.
  • The hazard statement, which should be reiterated on the SDS.
  • The chemical or product name, along with any other identifiers that might be appropriate.

At Southern United, we have produced durable GHS labels for a number of clients across industries. If you have a new requirement for GHS labelling or have decided to upgrade your existing labels, contact our team to help you get your new design right first time.

Rally Plaques for the MGC Register

Rally Plaques for the MGC Register - Image

At Southern United, we have been providing high-quality memorabilia for clubs and organisations for over 70 years. Our experienced team offers a personalised service to create plaques, brass plates, badges, magnets and other memorabilia for organisations of all sizes.

One example of the types of work we produce is the MGC Day plaque, which we designed and manufactured for this year’s annual gathering of MGC owners that are part of the MG Car Club in the UK.

Despite the cars receiving a modest reception when they first came onto the market in 1967, the design has reached an almost cult status amongst its contemporary fans. Every year, the MG Car Club holds an event at various locations around the country where owners can show off their vehicles, share stories and discuss breakdowns!

To help attendees commemorate the event, we put together a plaque design for each vehicle. The plaques were made out of styrene, which is weather resistant and durable but lightweight enough to avoid any damage to the vehicles. These were numbered from 1 – 75 so each driver could have their own unique identifier, and we supplied cable ties so they could be securely affixed to the front of each car.

Southern United Rally Image

This year, the MGC Day was held at Fawley Hill on July 1st. As you can see from the picture, it was a beautiful day and the cars (with their plaques!) looked fantastic.

If you would like any more information about rally plaques or event memorabilia in any quantity, please contact our team today to see how we can help.

What is CE marking, and can anyone use it?

Electronic parts

CE marking can be found on all kinds of products that are intended for trading in the European Economic Area (EEA). The letters are the abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene”, which translates to “European Conformity”. If a product is stamped with the CE marking, it indicates that it complies with the relevant European legislation for free movement within the area.

What products need CE marking?

The products that require CE marking are listed in the New Approach Directives guidance, available from the Europa website. As a generalisation, CE marking applies to equipment, electrical items, medical devices and recreational goods. This includes:

  • Measuring instruments
  • Household appliances
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Radio equipment
  • Toys

How to use CE marking

To determine whether a CE marking is required, manufacturers must understand which EU Directives apply to their product. There are more than 20 potentially-applicable directives, so research and thorough understanding is necessary.

The manufacturer is solely responsible for ensuring that the CE marking is appropriately applied to their products, although some Directives require compliance testing by an authorised third party. Any documentation from the product’s manufacture, storage, certifications and technical assessment must be kept safe and made available to the Market Surveillance Authorities if requested.

Can anyone use CE marking?

As you can see, CE marking is an essential component of quality assurance within the EEA. Misusing the CE label is considered a serious offence and is monitored in the UK by Trading Standards, the Health and Safety Executive, the National Measurement Office, the Vehicle Certification Agency and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

If a manufacturer is found to be wrongly labelling their products with the CE marking, they may be given an opportunity to remove the marking or bring their products up to code (whichever is appropriate). Failure to do so can result in products being removed from the market, fines and imprisonment.

Further information

For more information about CE marking in the UK, you can visit the Government website or check with the British Standards Institution.

If you aren’t sure about how to get the CE marking onto your products, contact us. Our label technicians have worked with hundreds of clients that are affected by the legislation and can help you design a secure way to show that your products are CE compliant.

Metal Tags: Making a mark that counts

Laser cutting of metal sheet with sparks

Whether you’re using them for industrial asset identification, premium brand labels or anything in between, there’s little that can match both the durability and the prestige of metal tags.

At Southern United, we have been making signage, badges, labels and custom plates for clients for many years, primarily out of brass, aluminium and stainless steel. We’re experts in understanding which metal and type of printing is the most appropriate for every environment and would like to share some of the details with you.

Material choices

As we’ve mentioned, at Southern United, we work with brass, aluminium and stainless steel. These each have different properties that can be benefits or drawbacks in different applications. For example:


  • Easily machinable into a variety of shapes
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Relatively low melting point (may be unsuitable for industrial applications)


  • Resistant to weathering, corrosion and high temperatures (although not as robust as steel)
  • Easy to cut and shape
  • Inexpensive

Stainless Steel

  • Very strong, resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Exceptional heat tolerance
  • Ideal for tough environments, marine atmosphere etc.

Marking techniques


Laser Marking

Laser marking will create a chemical reaction to change the appearance of a metal through charring, foaming, melting or a similar process. This may affect the surface texture and/or the colour of the laser-marked area.

Laser engraving can be expensive, however, the lack of inks or physical contact with the metal surface means that there is no need to regularly replace worn-out parts.


Engraving can be done with a laser or mechanically. Either way, it involves using a tool to ‘hollow-out’ specific parts of a metal plate into text or shapes, usually following a computer-generated guide. This means that the design is easy to precisely replicate thousands of times and can easily be configured to incorporate variable data.

Engraving leaves a durable mark which is very difficult to tamper with, and which can be enhanced with coloured lacquer to make text stand out from the background.


Anodising a metal (typically aluminium) involves oxidising its surface to make it porous and suitable for accepting ink. Once anodised, the plate is suitable for text, photo-quality printing or an all-over dye.

To ensure this print does not fade or wash out (and to protect the metal from corrosion), the anodised surface is then sealed using heat or a combination of heat and a sealant.

If you require custom metal tags for your organisation, business or products, please get in touch. At Southern United, our team have worked with a broad range of briefs and would be happy to help you choose the best design for your application.

Southern United Bake For Shelter

Southern United Bake for Shelter Cakes Image

Southern United’s Quality Technician, Corinne, recently organised a Bake For Shelter charity event at our HQ. Our team members, along with workers from neighbouring businesses, got together for a cup of tea and delicious cakes of all kinds. There were sponge cake, a surprise piñata cake, banana bread, carrot cake, a banoffee pie, chocolate Easter nests and for savoury fans, there was even a quiche.

We raised £107 for a great cause, the UK charity Shelter helps out over a million people each year with poor condition housing and homelessness. They advise and support with legal services, campaigning towards a day where no one struggles to keep a roof over their head. After a particularly cold winter 2017 – 18 coincided with a rise in homelessness, Corinne felt that an organisation attempting to prevent further increases deserved the support.

We got some great pictures of the baked goods – look away now if you’re hungry!

Southern United Bake for Shelter Cakes Montage Image

Labels to dry for

Creating the iTrap Fire Testing Technology labels and the finished article

At Southern United we love to make an equipment label for a pioneering industrial gadget. The iTrap is a new device from Fire Testing Technology Ltd, designed to remove the moisture from combustible gas lines ready for analysis. Based in Sussex, not far from us in East Grinstead, FTT Ltd have been creating innovative fire testing instruments for nearly 30 years and are world leaders in their field. Our drawing office produced the artwork in Illustrator, time is taken to match the required colours, in this case a pantone, to the exact shade that the customer needs.

A digital cutting file is also created at this point. Printed on polyester in a gauge of 0.13mm, they are digitally produced by a Roland 330 UV machine. Once the labels are printed we apply 3m 9471 adhesive backing on a laminating machine. To cut the labels we use a machine called a Summa which relies on sensors to calculate the measurements of the labels. We then cut away any excess material and the products are inspected and checked by our quality control team. Every item we create is a bespoke label or nameplate designed to look and perform perfectly in the desired setting and conditions.

Learn more about Fire Testing Technology Ltd. here.

Chicken and Duck Heaven on Earth!

Chicken Coop and floating duck lodge

If this Spring, you are walking in a West Country field and see the most beautiful Chicken Coop, or walk past a pond and see some very satisfied ducks basking on a Floating Duck Lodge, it most certainly is a “Flyte so Fancy” creation,  a Dorset family run wood working enterprise.

Phillip and Anne WeymouthPhillip and Anne Weymouth, and their Dorset based team of craftsmen (and women), build and decorate the most extraordinary range of eco-friendly Poultry Coops, and we all know there’s nothing quite like keeping our feathered friends happy.

Of course, to make sure potential new customers know how to contact the company, an elegant oval green and gold aluminium label was needed. And Phillip asked Southern United to provide them, and now these long lasting labels adorn his luxury avian homes.

Flyte So Fancy label

So, whatever you create, isn’t it about time you got all your ducks in a row, with a durable, weatherproof elegantly designed label, from Southern United?

Now that’s a shed load of labels!

Elfords of Chichester shed and summer house

Established 30 years ago, Elfords of Chichester is now the market leader in the manufacture and supply of Garden Sheds, Summer Houses and Wooden Workshops in West Sussex and Hampshire. Tony Harris, the Managing Director and son of the founder, says “You’ll be amazed by the number of enquiries we get for Beach Huts from people walking past the ones we supplied years ago”. The durable and ultra-long lasting aluminium labels Tony describes as “cheap advertising”, with the orders they provide him with year after year.

Tony chose Southern United to supply another 1000 labels for 2017 as a repeat purchase, having found these signs very effective. We wish him and his team in Chichester the very best for 2017.

Elfords Sheds label and shed, with detail explaining the lettering and make up of the metal label

Our friendly sales team at Southern United are happy to answer any queries or quote you for some “cheap advertising”, though of course we prefer the phrase “Very competitively priced”.

Call us and find out!

“Forget Me Not” Labels. PPK Aldershot Case Study

For 16 years the team at PPK Aldershot have been manufacturing hydraulic hoses and equipment, as well as refurbishing cylinders, separators and pumps on a nationwide basis. With all of this work an efficient system was needed so that customers knew how to get in touch for refurbishments and new parts. In the words of Mark Staples, CEO of PPK: “keeping track of our equipment and maintaining contact details of PPK refurbished equipment is an essential part of the marketing of the PKK business”.

PPK hydraulic equipment

Southern United is happy to provide PPK with tough, durable Melinex labels, which we have printed to meet their exacting requirements. In this particular instance it was decided that a polyester material would work well, and the details of this can be seen below.
PPK equipment

We would like to wish PPK all the best in their continued success as their branded equipment travels throughout the country.

Southern United PPK Services Label

If you need labels for your equipment to make sure everything is clearly identifiable as one of your products then call our friendly team today to find out more. Southern United offer a huge range of different label materials to suit any kind of of environment. Call us on 01273-418636 or get in touch here.

A sheet of polyester labels made for PPK Services by Southern United

“Don’t let me down”, Britain’s Oldest Umbrella Manufacturer!

When Richard Ince, the managing director of a 6th Generation, 210 year old Umbrella manufacturer needed to change his metal label supplier, Southern United was delighted to help out. The company is based within a stone’s throw of its beginnings in Spitalfields, just around the corner from Liverpool Street Station, London. And the Square Mile is still their biggest market where they supply many professional firms and businesses.

Richard Ince United Kingdom flag umbrella

With a new export order of premium branded umbrellas due to be shipped to USA in 10 days, any delay was not an option. Richard needed help ASAP with 100 units of formed aluminium etched and then filled with black ink to complete the order.

Two traditional Richard Ince black umbrellas

With Southern United always holding a wide range of metals in stock, we managed to supply the highly polished anodic aluminium Paul Stuart branded labels, in time for the deadline to ship to USA and the Christmas Season.

Highly polished anodic aluminium Paul Stuart branded labels

We wish Richard the very best as he breaks into the North American Umbrella market.

If you would like more information on our metal labels or any other type of labels then get in touch with our friendly team today. Southern United are able to provide a huge range of labels for every kind of use and environment.

Southern United was a part of it!

Macmillan Coffee Morning logo

Our thanks to Great Southern United Bake Off Contestants, with their tasty contributions to the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Louise with her Red Velvet, Corinne with her Vegan Banana Cake, Jenny’s Carrot Cake, Mourad’s girlfriend’s Brookie (Brownie Cookie), Carol’s mum (top scorer for number of cakes) with a Mint Aero Brownie and Lemon and Coconut Tray Bake and Darren’s wife with the Cup Cakes.

Ladies thank you for your delightful culinary skills, men get baking for next year!

No less than 8 cakes to share between 21 staff. My, my do we love our cake!!!

No one’s cake was judged the best, but Macmillan won, with our contribution of £61.41

Macmillan Coffee Morning Thank You logo

Hartley Boats Summer Sailing Success!

Hartley Boats of Derby have been designing and manufacturing an exciting range of sailing dinghies, from sports trainers to high performance sports competition racing skiffs, for the past 26 years.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) require an aluminium, anodised nameplate, detailing specifications and the manufacturer on sailing dinghies. Southern United is delighted to supply Hartley Boats with these plates, and we wish Richard and Mark Hartley every success in the future.

Side by side images of boats and people sailing

Southern United are delighted to present this YouTube video showing Hartley Boats latest action-packed performance in a twin trapeze, lightweight skiff, aptly named “Rebel”. Designed by Phil Morrison and Derek Clark, the Rebel is a high performance, two-person, lightweight skiff. With a hull weight of just 40kg and length of 4.5m, it’s ideally suited to lightweight crews.

2 Hartley Boats metal nameplates providing dinghy information

If your company has a special requirement for labels or nameplates and you need advice, please call our friendly sales team for a no obligation chat.

Southern United passes the AS 9100 audit – Plus more Car Club news and photos

First of all this month we would like to share with you our good news. Southern United have passed the AS 9100 audit. Although this is a quality management system for the aerospace industry we believe that this is something that is beneficial to all of our customers. This is because it means that we have stringent requirements for both quality and delivery turnarounds, and these requirements are applied to every label and nameplate that we make.

On another note, as summer has now fully arrived the Car Club Events are getting into full force and so we would like to repeat our good luck message to all of the car enthusiasts who have upcoming events. Thank you to everyone who has sent in photos, and we have a few we would like to share with you this month (thanks to Jeff Boysen, Jazz Productions and Keith Talbot). If you have any amusing photos or rib-tickling stories that you would like to see on next month’s blog then please send them over to us (

Car Club meeting with cars lined up and their bonnets open

Crowds of people at a car rally

A man waving whilst driving a Mini

Minis lined up at a car club meeting

Minis driving along a country road

Good Luck To All Our Car Club Customers

As summer is here we would like to wish all the car clubs and enthusiasts the best of luck with their upcoming events. We love to hear the excitement when talking to our customers, and so if you have any entertaining stories or funny photographs please feel free to send them over to us ( Once you have, make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for the next blog, as we will be looking to post a few of our favourites for everyone to see. To get the ball rolling we have shown below a few of our favourite designs.

The drawing office and factory have been keeping busy designing artwork and creating Monte Carlo Rally Boards, labels and nameplates for all of our valued customers. The great news is that thanks to our investment in equipment and staff training our lead time is currently 2 – 3 weeks, and of course if there are urgent requirements then we will always do our best to accommodate these.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about our stainless steel, brass and plastic name plates.

Metal badge for Birdingbury Country Show 2016

Yosemite Car Rally badge for Healey week June 2016

East Anglian Job badge for Norfolk Mini Owners Club

Weston Park Camper Jam '16 Car rally badge

Southern United Ltd awarded the AS9100 certification

Southern United Ltd are pleased to announce their valued customers that we have obtained the AS9100 certification in September 2015 (Copy of certificate can be downloaded from our website) and will pursue our commitment of manufacturing excellence. The AS9100 will benefit our clients from the Aerospace sector as we have got access to best practices from across the aerospace industry.  Our Quality Management System is now operated in conjunction with internal and third party audits, therefore AS9100 will be used as a tool of improving our quality level and on-time delivery within our supply chain.

Southern United has been awarded AS9100 certification

We would like to take this opportunity to inform our customers of our Christmas shutdown, it will be from 24/12/2015 until 04/01/2016. All the team at Southern United wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

An Eventful Friday!

On the 29th of August Southern United Ltd had the honour of welcoming the Chancellor of the Exchequer to our factory, along with local MP Mike Weatherley and new Conservative candidate Graham Cox.

We met with the Chancellor and Cabinet members; we were most pleased that they all took such an interest in our business. They spoke to a number of members of staff, including our Apprentice Louise. We have some wonderful photographs to remember the occasion by.

The Minister and MPs then toured the factory to see Southern United in action. The Chancellor was able to get stuck in with some piercing for one of our local customer’s order!

A warm thank you again to the Conservative party for their interest in our business and the time and effort they spent with us at our production site.

Our doors are always open for visitors!

Four images of George Osborne meeting Southern United staff

Welcome To The New Southern United Website

We are proud to announce the launch of our new website and blog, which we hope will provide all our current and potential clients with more information about our company and the services we provide.

With over 70 years experience as one of the leading manufacturers of nameplates, signs, metal labels, dials and instrument panels in the UK we have unrivalled up to date technology and believe in old fashioned, quality service. We provide a variety of options available with regards to the type and quality of the materials, processing and fixing techniques.

Plus with professional advice on choices of material and processing techniques prior to production we will work with you to ensure that you receive the best service at competitive rates. Do not hesitate to contact us as we will happily answer any queries you may have about our services. We hope you find the website easy to navigate, with helpful information about what we do and the different services and products we offer.

We tailor our service to suit the individual needs of your project or business and our new blog will be frequently updated with the latest news, offers and products available as well as helpful advice, so make sure to check back regularly for updates and news on the workings of Southern United. We are always happy to receive feedback so if there is anything in particular you would like to see in upcoming blog posts, please leave a comment below.