Chemical Labels

Labels are provided on chemicals for your protection. The Hazard Communication Standard and the Laboratory Standard both require labeling of chemicals.

Labels on shipped chemicals include:

  • Name of the product
  • Name and address of the manufacturer
  • Physical and health hazards

A portable container filled from a labeled container by an employee who uses it immediately or during his/her work shift does not have to be labeled. However, if any of the material is left at the end of the work shift, it must be returned to the original container OR it must be labeled as follows:

  • Name of the product
  • Physical and health hazards (see below)

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries provides alternatives for hard-to-label containers and for air emissions, such as in a welding area. You may use signs, placards, process sheets, batch tickets, or other such written material in place of trying to attach a label to individual stationary process containers, where it would be lost and difficult to read. The alternative label information must identify which container it refers to and be available in the work area to employees at all times.

In laboratories, research samples may be present. The University has a program for labeling research samples. Contact your supervisor or instructor, or the Environmental Health and Safety office for information.

Containers of products distributed prior to 1985 may not contain hazard warnings from the manufacturer. In those cases, other warning systems may be used.

One such system is the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704 system. Contact the Environmental Health and Safety office for further information about chemical labeling systems.

Physical and Health Hazards of Chemicals
Physical Hazards Health Hazards
Combustible Liquid Carcinogenic (cancer-causing)
Compressed Gass Acutely toxic
Explosive Chronically toxic
Flammable Reproductive Toxin
Organic Peroxide Irritant
Oxidizer Corrosive (acid/base)
Pyrophoric Sensitizer
Unstable (reactive) Hepatotoxins (liver)
Water-reactive Nephrotoxins (kidney)
  Neurotoxins (central nervous system)
  Agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes
  Agents which act on the hematopoietic system (circulatory system)
Page Updated 08.06.2012