A quick guide to chemical hazard labelling

A quick guide to chemical hazard labelling

Wed 12th May 2021

If you’re going to be packaging a product that contains substances or mixtures for shipping, delivery and storage, then you’ll need to ensure that it’s correctly labelled and be aware of all the changes to legislation.

These labels broadly fall into two main categories. Firstly, packaging labels show you how a package should be handled, and hazard labels tell you what sort of danger they present should they be mishandled.

These labels might be something as simple as “Handle with Care” or they could be much more specific and tailored to the particular contents.

Legal responsibilities: Changes to COSHH you need to be aware of in 2021

For those businesses that manufacture, supply, import and distribute hazardous substances, Brexit has presented some challenges. There are changes to legislation and new rules surrounding COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) and this inevitably has had an impact on the type of labelling required.

In terms of changes to COSHH legislation, here are the three key areas to look at:

 

  1. The main COSHH Regulations 2002
  2. The Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation
  3. The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation

 

CLP (Classification, labelling and packaging) is the EU regulation that from 1st January 2021 has been replaced by the GB CLP Regulation in Great Britain. You can find out more about the three main areas of COSHH legislation above, and what they mean in terms chemical hazard labelling here.

At Venture, we’re experienced at creating chemical hazard labels for all kinds of industries and we are fully up-to-speed with all the legislation changes.

 

The hazardous substances that exist in the workplace

It’s not something you think about every day, but the reality is that many workplaces, especially in an industrial environment, contain substances that are potentially harmful. These include:

Work activity substances such as paints, inks, adhesives, cleaning chemicals, solvents, fuels, pesticides, and biocides.

  • The debris from work activity such as wood dust or welding fumes.
  • Biological agents such as viruses and bacteria which can cause infections and diseases.

Exposure to hazardous substances can result in long-term chronic ill health and thousands of workers across the UK suffer every year from conditions such as asthma and dermatitis as a direct result of their work environments.

Aside from the personal cost to the individual, this also costs industries millions of pounds due to higher rates of sickness absence and reduced productivity. This illustrates the importance of raising the awareness levels of hazardous materials.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common chemical hazard labels, why they’re so important and what the new rules are surrounding labelling. . .

What you need to know about correctly labelling Toxic Gas

The image on a toxic gas label makes it clear that whatever it’s adhered to contains gas that can potentially kill. These labels might be used alongside other labels, such as those which tell the handler whether the contents are flammable, to give a fuller picture of what’s included.

Correct labelling of toxic gases and other chemicals is vital considering the threat they can pose to human, animal, and biological health.

 

The importance of Highly Flammable labels

If someone is handling a package that contains substances which could ignite, they need to know about it. Highly flammable labels are applied to packages that contain substances which can burn easily and potentially fiercely. If they’re being carried alongside other packages, the risks soon become apparent. Apply the proper labels and don’t leave anything to chance.

 

How to correctly label Non-Flammable gas

Simple green labels let a carrier know that although they’re carrying a package containing gas it won’t explode or burn. A good example of this is helium which is an inert gas and is often used for filling balloons. This doesn’t mean that it’s not potentially dangerous in some other way, and this would be indicated by a different label.

 

Labels for Corrosive Materials – what you need to know

Corrosive substances can potentially cause serious damage should they escape. They can be liqueous, solid or gaseous and can be acidic or alkaline. Usually, it will refer to substances that have the potential to eat away or dissolve materials with which they come into contact.

 

Examples of corrosive substances include potassium hydroxide, which is commonly found in fertilisers, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, or sodium hydroxide, which is often found in cleaning agents.

 

When Miscellaneous Labels are needed

Some goods are potentially hazardous but don’t fall under any specific category of hazard. So, what do you do if there’s no instantly recognisable label that you can apply to your package?  There are a range of miscellaneous labels that can be applied to these kinds of packages. These can be filled in manually, which gives the handler some indication of what’s included, and how they should be handled.

 

If you’re looking for safety labels and need professional advice, contact us today for a quote.

 

 

 

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