According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the Hazard Communication Standard requires all employers to use proper signage to indicate hazardous substances and how to use them. A hazardous substance is any substance that can cause a health or physical hazard. This standard is often referred to as the HAZCOM standard or Employee Right-to-Know – 29 CFR 1910.1200. The purpose behind the proper signage comes down to 3 main points:
- 1.To provide a safe and healthy workplace when handling hazardous chemicals.
- 2.To train employees to recognize chemical hazards and protect themselves from exposure.
- 3.To provide a formal mechanism that identifies the chemical hazards in the workplace and the management/engineering controls necessary to protect workers from exposure.
It is the responsibility on the owner of the facility/business to provide the correct signage for each application as well as training for all employees .
Hazard Communication for Chemicals
All hazardous chemicals come with a material safety data sheet (MSDS). While these data sheets contain a lot of information, the symbols tend to be straight forward. Typically, It’s a pictogram or symbol with minimal text. If employees are properly trained to identify these symbols, they have a better chance of being safe in the workplace. The pictograms are required as part of the HCS.
Here are some of the commonly-used symbols you might encounter, and what they mean:
|Health Hazard: The health hazard symbol features a
silhouette of a human torso with a six-pointed shape on the person’s chest.|
|Flame: The flame symbol means that a substance
presents a possible fire hazard.|
|Exclamation Mark: An exclamation point suggests
urgency, which is why it’s used to label substances that would immediately
cause a person harm.|
|Gas Cylinder: The gas cylinder pictogram is used to
label gasses under pressure. A gas is considered under pressure if it is at 29
pounds per square inch or more.|
|Corrosion: The pictogram symbolizing corrosion shows
a substance being poured onto a person’s hand (on the right) and what looks
like a metal pipe (on the left).|
|Exploding Bomb: Explosive materials are labeled with
a picture that looks like an exploding bomb. These materials are extremely
|Flame Over Circle: Oxidizers are chemical compounds
that release oxygen when they react with another substance. Oxidizers are
chemicals that facilitate burning or make fires burn hotter and longer.|
|Environment: This pictogram looks like an upturned
fish on the shore next to a tree. This is the only one that is optional, so you
may not always see it on a chemical even if it is known to hurt fish or other
|Skull and Crossbones: The skull-and-crossbones is an
iconic image that, in this circumstance, means the chemical is poisonous, fatal
Browse thousands of Specific Hazard
to find exactly what you need.