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Chemical Labeling Guidelines

The Globally Harmonized system of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is now aligned with the Hazard Communications Standard (HCS). These programs are set in place to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the the hazards and characteristics or the chemicals must be available and understandable to all workers. Absence or inappropriate labeling of chemicals may lead to interference with work, hazardous situation, and possible accidents.

What types of information must be on the chemical label?

The manufacturer label is usually appropriate and includes the following:

  • Product name or identity of chemical
  • Name and address of manufacturer
  • Most significant physical or health hazards associated with chemical, including target organ, if applicable
  • Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number, if available

It is not necessary to supplement the manufacturer’s labels, but all missing labels must be replaced as soon as possible.

All chemical containers must have labels, this includes:

  • Small end-use containers into which a bulk chemical was transferred, whenever any possibility exists that more than one employee or student may potentially use the container
  • Containers into which waste is being accumulated
  • May use “homemade” labels if the identity of the chemical and some type of health hazard or hazard class information is presented.

Hazard ratings (symbols, letters or numbers) may be used to indicate the hazards, but only if people are trained to understand them. Many types of labels are commercially available, such as the following one.

Hazardous labeling sticker

Hazardous Material Identification Guide

Hazardous Material Identification Guide