Environmental Health & Safety Compliance Blog

Do I Really Need to Label Everything?

Posted by Rebecca McDaniel on Dec 23, 2009 10:43:00 AM

By Greg Brady, Operations Coordinator

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.

Tags: Emergency Response, Safety, Compliance, Chemical Management

Why do I need to label my drums / stock materials / waste?

Posted by Rebecca McDaniel on Nov 4, 2009 12:48:00 PM

By Melissa Iozzo, Technical Specialist

“I know what’s in there!”, “it’s just water!”, “The transporter can label the stuff”.

Sound familiar? Take a walk around your lab or manufacturing floor. You run a tight ship; you have neatly filed folders filled with POs and receipts for materials going for use in all aspects of your business. You know who’s using what, where, when, how much, and at what point you are going to need to order more. So why do you have to label all this stuff!

I’ll tell you – because I don’t know what’s in them, and neither does the EPA, OSHA, the fire department, or any other agency that regularity audits facilities just like yours! It’s called hazard communication – and it’s at the top of the list when talking about safety.

Fines for unlabeled container run high across the board – and they sure can add up; especially if you are being audited by multiple facilities. Furthermore, the EPA and the fire department don’t discriminate – regardless of if you have water, piranha etch, oil, or hydrofluoric acid in that bottle on the sink. 100 mls of 2 gallons – if it’s not labeled, then you aren’t taking necessary measures to keep your employees, visitors, and contractors aware – and that is a safety violation.

Even scarier than fines is the safety of your people – you don’t want to be responsible for a spill, or even worse, an exposure in your facility when you don’t know what the chemical involved in was due to having new labels available! On top of that, if this stuff ends up out on the roads missing the proper labeling and markings, you get a whole new set of agencies and fines to deal with!

Luckily – though it may seem at a tedious task at first, labeling is quick, easy, and can sure save you a lot of time, money, and overall pain in the end – especially if you keep up with it. Triumvirate can help. We can profile your waste streams and stock materials and print out reusable labels for just about anything – so you have to do pretty much nothing!

Tags: EPA, Triumvirate Environmental, OSHA, Safety