10 Most Important Parts of a Product Label

OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has legal requirements for the labeling of HAZMAT (hazardous materials) and supplementing MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). 

While many of the following examples are for HAZMAT products, many of them also apply to other industrial materials. These are legally required disclosures by product manufacturers for worker safety in general. It’s good to know what you can expect to find when familiarizing yourself with any product that’s new to you.

1. Pictograms

A pictogram is an image or images that transcend language barriers, making clear that whatever is inside the container bearing this label has properties that could be hazardous or require special consideration in regard to handling.

2. Signal Word

The signal word is a single word near the pictogram that communicates the potential hazard clearly. For example, DANGER or CORROSIVE. 

3. Hazard Statement

The hazard statement is a more in-depth disclosure of the properties of the material.

4. Precautionary Statement

The precautionary statement outlines the procedures that must be taken by those handling or using the material. For example, if care must be taken not to puncture the packaging, it’s more than likely that forklifts are prohibited.

5. Product Identifier

The product identifier is manufacturer information on the product itself and may include warnings about chemical composition. For example, the label may state that the product contains mercury.

6. Supplier Identification

Supplier identification will always include the manufacturer’s name and street address, as well as an emergency phone number.

7. Safety Control and Protection

First aid recommendations are usually included.

8. Fire

Instructions in case of fire are very important. With some industrial chemicals, water makes a fire much worse.

9. Directions for Use

Instructions for the end user are mandatory, such as ensuring adequate ventilation.

10. Supplemental Information

Any other information that would be helpful or assist in full disclosure is always appreciated. For example, if the product must not exceed certain temperatures in storage, those limits need to be stated.

Learn More About Labeling

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