13 Labelling of hazardous materials
Under the Classification, Packaging and Labelling Regulations (1984) all containers of hazardous materials carried by road must be labelled with hazard warning symbols and guidance phrases. Most companies (but not all) now provide this information on all containers of hazardous materials in the form of labels.
The symbols used either indicate physical property or hazard to life and are ranked in priority order according to type:
- EXPLOSIVE has priority over OXIDISING has priority over FLAMMABLE.
- TOXIC has priority over CORROSIVE has priority over HARMFUL.
The GUIDANCE PHRASES are also of two types:
- RISK phrases which indicate the HAZARD, eg "toxic by inhalation".
- SAFETY phrases which advise on how to minimise RISK, eg "keep away from heat".
A maximum of two symbols only can be used, one of each type. The symbol chosen should be the one of highest priority.
Thus a material which is toxic and corrosive should only be labelled as toxic. Priorities apply even within categories which share the same symbol, thus a HIGHLY FLAMMABLE material should not be labelled as merely FLAMMABLE.
NB: THE TERM INFLAMMABLE IS OBSOLETE AND SHOULD NOT BE USED
13:3 Guidelines for Labelling Laboratory Stocks of Hazardous Materials
13:3:1 All hazardous materials should be labelled with the appropriate symbols and guidance phrases.
Do not rely solely on information provided on the supplied label as this may be inadequate, especially on materials supplied from outside the UK. Use data sheets etc.
13:3:2 If hazardous material is dispensed or transferred into another container, the new container MUST by labelled with AT LEAST the same safety information as the original (even if diluted), and should also indicate the source of the original material.
13:3:3 Containers used for dispensed stocks of hazardous material MUST be supplied with NEW labels. It is illegal to overwrite or re-use old labels, these must be soaked off before any container is re-used.
13:3:4 Labels should preferably be covered by a clear plastic laminate to prevent legends being destroyed by spills etc. Blank labels are available from the Chief Technician.
13:3:5 When bottles are tipped for pouring, the label should be kept uppermost to avoid spills onto labels. Any drips from the bottle neck should be wiped away.
13:3:6 Labelling of hazardous materials applies equally to waste materials, especially those which are to be disposed of by an outside contractor.
Check the correct labelling of mixtures of hazardous materials. Do not assume that the properties of a mixture are the sum of its constituent parts, i.e. two HARMFUL chemicals may be HIGHLY TOXIC when mixed. Use date sheets to check incompatibilities.
13:4 Hazard Symbols
Flash point < 0°C
Flash point > 0°C & < 21°C
Flash point > 21°C & < 55°C
Skin necrosis in 3 minutes or under
Skin damage in under 4 hours
Non-corrosive that will cause inflammation in under 4 hours exposure
Toxic substance with an LD75 of 0.2 to 2.0g/kg body weight, ie a toxic dose of ca. 14g for an adult male at the lower limit
|Toxic||LD75 > 25mg & < 250mg/kg body weight, ie toxic dose of ca. 1.8g at the lower limit|
|Very Toxic||LD75 < 25mg/kg body weight, ie toxic dose of < 1.8g for an adult male.|
The other two symbols are OXIDISING and EXPLOSIVE, neither has any variant or qualifer. Both are more relevant to fire service than laboratory worker.