Hazard Information on Container Labels
When using any chemical it is important to know if the chemical is actually hazardous. So, what qualities make a chemical hazardous according to OSHA?
- Flammable, combustible, and / or explosive
- Corrosive (acids or caustics)
- Irritating or damaging to the eyes and / or body
- Poses a hazard through inhalation, ingestion, or body contact
- Any known or suspected carcinogen.
There are two basic ways to determine if a chemical is hazardous: (1) the container or packaging label and (2) the safety data sheet (SDS). We’ll review the label with this tool-box-talk.
Warning labels, found on containers of hazardous materials, provide much of the information you need to know to use the product safely. You can get the same information, and more, from a SDS but the container label is easier to read and sometimes includes easy-to-understand symbols. If you find a container with no label or a torn or unreadable label, the law requires you to replace the label or remove the container from the work area.
The most important information on the label is the word that indicates how hazardous the product is. There are three levels of hazard wording. They are Danger, Warning, and Caution.
· Danger: means it is the most hazardous kind of material.
· Warning: is less hazardous than Danger, but more hazardous than Caution.
· Caution: is the least hazardous rating. However, products listed with the Caution label can be harmful if you don’t follow proper procedures.
Toolbox talk based on NMGC submitted by Steve Ericsson – Paulsboro Refinery