Environmental Health and Safety
Reference : UW Superior Chemical Hygiene Plan Section C
Manufacturer's label their products with an overview of the hazards associated with the product's use. "User" (secondary) containers should be labeled with the chemical name, concentration and an indication of the hazards. Containers used by a single individual during a class period or work shift do not need to be labeled as long as the containers are never stored or left unattended. However, labeling a container is always a good idea because it prevent mixups and accidents.
LABELING OF CHEMICAL CONTAINERS
All containers holding chemical or commercial substances with chemical hazards must be labeled appropriately, including those used long term as well as short term storage. Labels will be provided by the department. Labels may be purchased from a vendor, made by the department, or the labeling program at the Environmental Health and Safety Office may be used. The label should be easy to understand and convey the appropriate hazards. The following requirements apply:
Examples of Hazard Pictograms that Can be Used to Convey Chemical Hazards
Many container labels will have diamond or a box that is divided into color coded sections: Health (blue), Flammability (Red), Reactivity (Yellow) and Other or Corrosive (white). Numbers of 0-4 will be assigned to each section of the diamond to indicate the degree of hazard; 0 indicates low hazard, and 4 is highest level of hazard.
Toxic or Poisonous
Electrical Shock Hazard
Examples using actual chemicals used at UWS
Image The MSDS for sodium chloride can be found here. By locating the NFPA(National Fire Protection Association) ratings (Section 5) we see that none of these is above 1, by looking at section 11 we find that it is not listed as a carcinogen. As a result of these two statements no hazard markings are necessary.
Image The MSDS for hydrochloric acid can be found here. By locating the NFPA ratings (Section 5) we see that its health rating is above 1 and the Hazards Overview (Section 3) indicates it is a corrosive. Therefore it and any dilutions of it must be labeled as corrosive. Section 11 again indicates it is not listed as a carcinogen therefore only a corrosive markings is required
Image The MSDS for nitric acid is found here. By locating the NFPA ratings (Section 5) we see that its health rating is above 1 and Hazards Overview (Section 3) indicates it is corrosive and an oxidizer. Therefore it must carry corrosive and oxidizer markings. Section 11 again indicates it is not listed as a carcinogen.
Image The MSDS for benzene is found here. Again in section 5 we see that the Health and Flammability ratings are above 1 and sections 3 and 11 indicates that it is a carcinogen. Therefore it must have both flammable and carcinogen markings.
MSDS note , the format/information differs somewhat between manufacturers for example, contrast these MSDS's, Fisher nitric acid with Baker nitric acid
CHEMICAL STORAGE BY HAZARD CLASSIFICATION (From the UW Superior Chemical Hygiene Plan Section D 3-1)
Storage color codes
Chemicals are to be stored according to hazard class in all chemical storage areas. The uniform color-code system developed by the J. T. Baker Chemical Company will be amended for use by all departments. Individual modifications of the color code system used within departments should be described in Appendix D of Section D of the department Chemical Hygiene Plan.
Many suppliers use a color coding system for chemical storage classification. All of the companies use the color red for flammability, blue for health, and yellow for reactivity as taken from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) color code system. Most chemical suppliers use white for contact hazard. Colors for general storage conditions and unusual requirements will vary between manufacturers. A chemical may not always be assigned to the same hazard classes by different suppliers. The J. T. Baker system uses orange to signify general storage. UW Superior will use the color green to indicate general storage conditions.
The goal of any chemical storage classification system is to prevent accidental combination of 2 or more incompatible materials in the same space. Chemicals must be separated by space and even physical barriers to prevent an unwanted reaction. Chemical storage areas should be appropriately labeled.
At a minimum, each department will assign the following color codes to represent the appropriate hazard class of the chemical:
Storage code colors by other companies should be converted to this system. Each chemical should be labeled with a color code to avoid confusion of colors assigned by other manufacturers.
A department may elect to further segregate incompatible materials within the same storage class by using a striped label of the same color. The materials should be segregated within the storage area.
When a color code has not been assigned by a chemical company, a determination must be made based upon the available information. This may include:
Benzene: Looking at MSDS located here we find that the NFPA codes are Health: 2; Flammability: 3; Instability: 0 therefore this is coded Red.
Sodium Chloride: Looking at MSDS located here we find that the NFPA codes are all below 2 therefore this is coded Green.
Nitric Acid: The MSDS for nitric acid is found here. The NFPA codes are Health: 4; Flammability: 0; Instability: 0; Special Hazard: OX. By using rule 5 above we see that the oxidizer code overrides the health code therefore this is coded Yellow.
Hydrochloric acid: The MSDS for hydrochloric acid can be found here. The NFPA codes are Health 3 and the hazzard warning in section 3 indicates this is corrosive. The color for this is White.
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