One of the most important, but often overlooked, aspects of chemical management is the proper labeling of chemical containers. In the interest of safety, it is important that all chemicals, used and unused, are clearly labeled and if your facility has a Hazard Communication Plan, it is a requirement. It is crucial in maintaining a safe working environment that the people that are working at your facility are very clear on what they are working with. It is also essential in the event of an emergency response, that the people responding know what materials are in use as well as what materials may have been released. When managing chemicals that are considered hazardous waste, there are four essential requirements for your label:
• Containers must be labeled with the words “HAZARDOUS WASTE”.
• Containers must be labeled with all of the constituents. Constituents must be written clearly and completely without using abbreviations or chemical formulas. It’s also a good idea to use pencil instead of pen so that if the tag gets wet, the constituents can still be read.
• One or more of these four hazard classes must be checked: Ignitable, Corrosive, Reactive or Toxic. Additional information can be included on the tag for informational purposes such as oxidizer, but it is not required.
• Containers must be dated when they are full or no longer in use. Depending on your facility requirements, you must then dispose of the waste within a certain amount of time.
By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your facility continues to be a safe place to work while maintaining compliance.