The use of chemicals directly or indirectly impacts human lives and makes an essential component in the manufacturing, construction and production industry. They are used to produce pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, cleaning materials, dyes, fuels, food additives, and more.
Today, strict health and safety codes govern the industrial use and handling of chemicals in ensuring a safe working environment. The most effective way to ensure that is by identifying chemicals to their health and environmental impacts; while communicating protective measures. All this information should be conveyed effortlessly and at a reasonable cost.
Hazardous Material Information Guide Labels
The Hazardous Material Information Guide (HMIG Labels) are specialty labels used to explain chemical information such as potential hazards and preventive measures in the event of an accident. HMIG labels are widely used as industrial labels in the hazardous materials identification system to capture different chemicals color, number, and symbols for easy decoding.
These protective chemical labels can be used on bottles, drums, cartons, boxes, and containers to indicate protective equipment basics code of practice.
Chemical Hazard Classification
Hazard identification and classification process involve profiling dangerous chemical properties which are a threat to human health and the environment. Safe handling and usage of chemicals must be explained in clarity using HMIG labels. During classification, a single component chemical refers to a substance whereas a mixture made of at least two substances is termed as preparation.
Understanding the hazards associated with single substances enables you to classify the hazards of preparations. In addition to chemical properties, another factor that determines the degree of hazard is the concentration levels of hazardous components in the preparation.
Types of Hazardous Chemicals
There is a wide variety of industrial hazardous chemicals and understanding the substance can help you avoid exposure and health effects of chemicals such as allergic reactions, skin irritation, organ damage, poisoning, cancer, and other mental problems. Chemical hazards are classified as follows:
- Fire and Explosion Hazards: It includes chemicals that are explosive, oxidizing, flammable, highly flammable and extremely flammable. Examples include liquefied petroleum gas, gas cylinders, diesel fuel, and other reactive gases.
- Chemical Environment Hazards: Refers to bioaccumulative of toxic chemical substances that are persistent in the environment. Examples of hazard chemicals include paints, detergents, drugs, pesticides, and fertilizers.
However, these two categories don’t classify all hazardous chemicals. In this case, any chemical with harmful properties and poses a health risk to humans, living organisms and the environment is considered as dangerous.
HMIG Labels Chemical Classifications
The specialty labels are used to inform the chemical users on the classification and necessary safety measures. Such information is particularly important if the preparation is classified as dangerous or the chemical mixture has at least one substance considered hazardous to living things and organisms. HMIG labels will generally include:
- Trade name
- Manufacturers’ details including name and address
- Chemical name including substance or preparation
- Chemical quantity inside the package
- Hazards symbols and pictograms
Basic Rules When Using Chemical Labeling System
- Labels must be written in the national or official language
- Each medical label has to include utmost four chemical names
- Preparations with at least two substances should be specified with respective risk-phrase (R-phrase)
Chemical Label Hazard Symbols
There various chemical label hazard symbols that represent the health, physical and environmental hazards posed by a chemical. They include:
- E for Explosive: This symbol represent the possibility of explosion when the chemical is exposed to heat, shock or friction. Safe handling and use of protective gears are encouraged.
- O for Oxidizing: It denotes flammable substances when subjected to heat whether there is oxygen or not.
- F denotes Highly Flammable: Substances that ignites quickly in presence of hot air
- F+ denotes Extremely Flammable: Chemical substances such as liquids that would easily ignite at body temperature.
- T denotes Toxicity: and its typical represented by a skull and crossed bones symbol. Such chemicals or substances are highly hazardous even with short exposure.
- C denotes Corrosive:Materials that may cause server burns or permanent tissue damage. These substances are also highly reactive when exposed to metals.
Lastly, other hazard symbols often used in chemical labeling include Xn to mean Harmful but less toxic, Xi to denote Irritant but less corrosive. Remember to classify and label chemicals properly to avoid hazard misrepresentation, especially when dealing with two substances in a preparation.