By Kate Carpenter, TRS, Triumvirate Environmental Somerville
One of the most common deficiencies identified during lab inspections are related to container labeling. Whether it is an environmental agency or the local Fire Department auditing you, they will want chemicals properly identified and the implications of this are very important for maintaining safety and compliance and also for avoiding fines. Having all containers of virgin chemicals labeled so they are easily identified is important, but there are even stricter regulations for managing hazardous waste containers.
When labeling waste, there are specific requirements you must follow depending upon what state you are in. In Massachusetts, any hazardous waste accumulating in a Satellite Accumulation Area must be labeled with a hazardous waste label with the full chemical names written (no abbreviations), and have the hazards identified (ignitable, corrosive, toxic or reactive). When the container is full and it is brought into the Main Accumulation Area, there must be a date added onto the label. The date is important for tracking how long the waste has accumulated on-site (to ensure compliance with maximum accumulation time requirements). Since hazardous waste container labeling rules vary significantly from state to state, it is important to check your specific state hazardous waste regulations, or check with your friendly environmental advisor!