Written by Steve Hudgik
OSHA requires employers to ensure that no worker uses, stores, or allows any other person to use or store any hazardous substance in a laboratory, if the container does not meet OSHA safety labeling requirements. Safety labels are required on all types of containers, including bags, barrels, bottles, boxes, cans, cylinders, drums and reaction vessels. These requirements are given in OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard [29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1)], and include:
Often, laboratory use of chemicals requires the use of secondary containers such as bottles, flasks, cans or beakers. Secondary containers must comply with the safety labeling requirements listed above if that secondary container is outside the control of the person who made the transfer. For example, if any of the following conditions exist:
When a secondary container does not meet the above requirements, a safety label needs to be applied to the secondary container. This label must provide the identity of the hazardous chemical(s) in the container and the hazards the chemical(s) present.
The label on a container entering the workplace must not be removed, altered or defaced. If a chemical container's original safety label must be replaced, the new safety label must contain the same information as the original. Only use labels, ink and markings that are not soluble in the liquid content of the container.
There are labeling materials available that resist moisture, temperature extremes, petroleum products and many solvents. There are even DuraChem tapes and ribbons for making safety labels that resist harsh chemical environments.
Safety labels are more than the ANSI specified danger, warning and caution labels. Every label is a safety label.
The first type of label that comes to mind when we hear the term "safety labels" are the labels required by OSHA. These include safety labels specified by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) for marking containers holding hazardous materials. OSHA also specifies that safety labels be used in various circumstances such as for confined and enclosed spaces (OSHA Standard 1915.16). But there's more to safety labels.
ANSI required labeling, such as pipe markers, are also often considered to be safety labels. Other organizations such as NFPA, IIAR and CGA also publish codes that require safety labels. But ther'sstill more to safety labels.
There are many other types of labels throughout your facility, and they all should be considered as safety labels. Every message is important and is in some way related to safety.
Take, for example, housekeeping labels. These are labels with messages such as:
These labels are not just about keeping things looking good. They are safety labels with an important safety message. If your workplace is a mess, it is hazardous, and people may get hurt or sick.
What about a label that says:
If You Take The Last Of The Coffee, Make A New Pot
Is this a safety label? It doesn't seem like it. Isn't this just a courtesy to the next person who is looking for a cup of coffee? That's true, but this is also a safety label. An empty pot left on a hot burner becomes a burn and fire hazard.
We see safety labels all the time with the message "Safety First." Keep safety first in your thoughts and you'll start to see how every label is a safety label. Not only that, you'll start to see new places, that were not previously apparent, where a safety label is needed. Labels and signs pointing people to the nearest exit are safety labels. Labels telling workers to not block exits with boxes are safety labels. Labels identifying offices and conference rooms are safety labels – they help people get to the right place during an emergency.
To make every type of safety label you need, then you need a DuraLabel printer. There are other thermal transfer label printers, but there are no other label printers like a DuraLabel. With a DuraLabel printer on your desk you can make brushed metal office labels, and tough, durable chemical resistant labels. You can make pipe markers and wire markers. You can make GHS labels and arc flash warning labels. There truly in no other label printer that is as productive, versatile and tough as a DuraLabel. Call 1-888-326-9244 today and ask about a DuraLabel printer for your facility.