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OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard outlines the requirements for hazardous chemical labels. Do all of your employees understand what these chemical labels mean and just how important they can be?


Manufacturers, importers, and distributors are required to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals is labeled with a product identifier, signal word, hazard statement, precautionary statement, pictogram, and contact information of the responsible party.


Here’s a quick breakdown:


Product Identifier

This is the chemical name, code number, or batch number. The party responsible for labeling can decide which is best to use as the identifier for the chemical. The same product identifier must be used on the chemical label and safety data sheet.


Signal Word

This is used to alert the reader to a potential hazard and to indicate the severity of the hazard. “Danger” and “Warning” are the only two signal words used, with the former indicating a higher severity and the latter indicating a lower severity. Chemicals containing multiple hazards will only display one signal word, indicative of the highest severity that is appropriate.


Hazard Statements

These describe the nature of the hazards, or what specific harm the chemical can cause. All applicable hazard statements must always be displayed and should be consistent with the hazard classification categories—meaning consumers should always see the same hazard statement for the same chemical, regardless of its production and distribution origin.


Precautionary Statements

There are four types of precautionary statements to inform readers how to prevent harmful exposure, respond to accidental exposure, store the chemical, and dispose of the chemical and its container. Precautionary statements should be arranged in order of urgency, if necessary, so that the quickest action can take place in the event of an accident.



These are 8 globally recognized graphic symbols used to convey specific information about a chemical’s hazards at a glance.


Because of the dangerous nature of the chemicals, it’s very important to always read these chemical labels. It can mean knowing when your employees need to wash their hands or take a trip to the hospital. Give your employees a quick lesson on this today to make sure they’re being appropriately attentive to chemical labels in the workplace.


Download and share this simple guide that explains the pictograms used on hazardous chemical labels. Whether new employees could use a reference guide or seasoned employees need a quick refresher, it’s important that everyone be informed of the hazards involved in the workplace.


hazard chemical pictogram reference guide