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Monday, October 21, 2013

Have You Seen This Symbol?

NFPA 704 is a standard system for the Identification of the "Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response" maintained by the U.S.-based National Fire Protection Association.   This standard defines the colloquial "fire diamond" used by emergency personnel to quickly and easily identify the risks posed by hazardous materials. By identifying the risks, first responders can determine what, if any, special equipment should be used, procedures followed, or precautions taken during the initial stages of an emergency response.


The four divisions are typically color-coded, with blue indicating level of health hazard, red indicating flammability, yellow (chemical) reactivity, and white containing special codes for unique hazards. Each of health, flammability and reactivity is rated on a scale from 0 (no hazard) to 4 (severe risk).  For more information on the NFPA standard, check out this Wikepedia article:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFPA_704

While responding to a RFP for GHS printers and labels, I learned that some companies may be adding both the NFPA and GHS symbols/icons to their labels.  Given this situation, companies would have to use more than just two colors to produce the GHS labels.

ghs-symbols

ghs-label

You may find my earlier summary of the GHS mandate of interest:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-h-is-ghs-opportunity.html

After reading about this requirement, I wondered “how many other companies plan to add both types of icons to their new labels?”  To answer this question, I decided to ask this question to the GHS group on Linked In.  Here are the responses I received:  http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=1852619&type=member&item=5795524182036987904&qid=e9034a4a-05f0-4e13-a8e1-947974b6189c&trk=groups_most_popular-0-b-cmr&goback=%2Egmp_1852619

 Most of the people responding said they had no plans to add both symbols.  In fact, one person stated that less than 5% of the companies will add both.    Another person pointed out that, in fact, the NFPA symbols are not sufficient workplace labels.  However, companies can continue to use both symbols as long as they are consistent with the requirements with the Workplace Communication standard.  For more information on this standard, check out this page:  http://www.msdsonline.com/blog/2013/07/osha-clarifies-the-use-of-hmis-and-nfpa-labels-under-ghs-adoption-and-small-container-labeling-during-webinar-on-hazcom-2012/#sthash%2EEwMAcuGn%2Edpuf

If you are beginning to implement your plans to produce GHS labels, contact Color Label Solutions to help find the optimized printing solution to meet your requirements. 

Guy Mikel
 855-962-7670
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

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