Labeling and Transfer of Chemicals

Lab personnel cannot use chemical containers that do not meet the labeling requirements of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.  At a minimum, purchased chemical containers must have labels that meet the following:

1. The name of the chemical and the hazards of the chemical must be present on the label

2. The label must be legible

3. The label must be written in English

4. The label cannot be defaced, marked out, or removed until the original contents are removed from the container.

The hazard warnings are on the container to ensure lab personnel are aware of the physical and/or health hazards of the chemical.  The hazard warnings may be communicated through pictures, symbols, words, or a combination of each.  Labs must ensure that the hazard labels are present on all chemicals that are stored or used.

Working containers or portable secondary containers must also meet the requirements of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.  This applies if the material is not used within the work shift by the individual who created or transferred the solution.  The labeling requirements also apply if the researcher leaves the work area or gives the container to another researcher.  The label on the working containers must contain the identity of the chemical (e.g. chemical name) and the hazards that are present.  There are many ways that the labs can communicate the hazard information.  Labs may use lab tape and write the hazards that apply to the solutions.   Labs may  also purchase manufactured labels or stickers using the Global Harmonization pictograms.  The stickers may be purchased from an Emory approved Lab Safety Supply vendor.

References: OSHA QuickFacts:  Laboratory Safety – Labeling and Transfer of Chemicals.  Web.  27 June 2013.

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