Tuesday, April 30, 2013

OSHA Brief: Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms Part 4

Supplementary Information. The label producer may provide additional instructions or information that it deems helpful. It may also list any hazards not otherwise classified under this portion of the label. This section must also identify the percentage of ingredient(s) of unknown acute toxicity when it is present in a concentration of ≥1% (and the classification is not based on testing the mixture as a whole). If an employer decides to include additional information regarding the chemical that is above and beyond what the standard requires, it may list this information under what is considered “supplementary information.” There is also
no required format for how a workplace label must look and no particular format an employer has to use; however, it cannot contradict or detract from the required information.

An example of an item that may be considered supplementary is the personal protective equipment (PPE) pictogram indicating what workers handling the chemical may need to wear to protect themselves. For example, the Hazardous Materials Information System (HMIS) pictogram of a person wearing goggles
may be listed. Other supplementary information may include directions of use, expiration date, or fill date, all of which may provide additional information specific to the process in which the chemical is used.

Pictograms are graphic symbols used to communicate specific information about the hazards of a chemical. On hazardous chemicals being shipped or transported from a manufacturer, importer or distributor, the required pictograms consist of a red square frame set at a point with a black hazard symbol on a white
background, sufficiently wide to be clearly visible. A square red frame set at a point without a hazard symbol is not a pictogram and is not permitted on the label.

The pictograms OSHA has adopted improve worker safety and health, conform with the GHS, and are used worldwide.

While the GHS uses a total of nine pictograms, OSHA will only enforce the use of eight. The environmental pictogram is not mandatory but may be used to provide additional information. Workers may see the ninth symbol on a label because label preparers may choose to add the environment pictogram as supplementary
information. Figure 1 shows the symbol for each pictogram, the written name for each pictogram, and the hazards associated with each of the pictograms. Most of the symbols are already used for transportation and many chemical users may be familiar with them.

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