Chemical Labeling is an important component of an effective Hazard Communication Program. Clear and consistent labeling throughout your facility will ensure that chemical hazards are easily distinguishable and understood by employees. There are generally two types of chemical containers that are present in manufacturing facilities:

  • Primary Containers – Containers in which bulk chemicals are typically received and contain larger volumes of chemicals (i.e. chemical drums)
  • Secondary or Workplace Containers – Containers into which bulk chemicals are transferred from primary containers for use in production or chemical application areas.

Primary Container Labeling

Primary container labels are required to be placed on bulk chemical containers and packing provided by chemical suppliers. These labels should meet requirements for both GHS transport and hazard labeling. Examples of GHS labeling requirements and arrangements for primary containers and packaging can be found in Annex 7 of the GHS (Rev.6) (2015)

Annex 7 of the GHS (Rev.6) (2015)

A summary of the GHS hazard label requirements is provided below:

  1. Product Identifier – Name of the product
  2. Pictograms – Graphic giving information about the potential hazard(s) of the product
  3. Signal Word – Descriptive word/statement that explains the potential hazard of the product.  Examples “Danger” or “Warning”
  4. Hazard Statements – Explanation of the product’s potential hazard
  5. Precautionary Statements – Statement(s) that convey information on how to prevent or minimize the negative effects of coming in contact with the product.  Precautionary statements fall into 4 categories: prevention, response, storage and disposal.
  6. Supplier Information – Contact information for the manufacturer/supplier of the product including company name, address and telephone number

Workplace Container Labeling

In production work areas, chemicals are often required to be transferred from their primary containers into secondary or workplace containers for ease of use. Workplace containers are often smaller and can consist of various shapes that may restrict the amount of information a label can contain. At minimum, workplace container labels should display the following information:

  • The identity of the chemical (chemical name)
  • The associated hazards (signal word and/or hazard statement)
  • Pictogram

The below example summarizes the minimum recommended label elements for workplace containers.

Click Image to Enlarge

Labeling Resources

GHS Pictograms – Downloadable Image files that may be used to make your own workplace labels

U.S. OSHA Brief on Labels and Pictograms

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