Chemical hazards

Chemical Hazards – Hazardous Materials Identification System

Chemical Hazards

Hazardous Materials Identification System

Chemical hazardsUnder the Hazard Communication Standard put forth by OSHA, virtually all hazardous chemicals used in the workplace are required to have labels that indicate the type and level of the potential hazard.

The warning labels used to identify chemical hazards have a universal color and numbering system. They also utilize a letter designating what type of personal protective equipment is needed. This makes it easier for you to tell what type and level of hazard you are dealing with. Colors are used to show the specific kind of hazard, and numbers within the colors are used to let you know what the potential hazard is, mild through severe. Please review the following:


Red — indicates the flammability hazard. 0 — minimal hazard

Blue — shows the health hazard. 1 — slight hazard

Yellow — tells the reactivity hazard. 2 — moderate hazard

White — informs if any special hazards exist. 3 — serious hazard

4 — severe hazard


A–safety glasses

B–safety glasses, gloves

C–safety glasses, gloves, synthetic apron

D–face shield, gloves, synthetic apron

E–safety glasses, gloves, dust respirator

F–safety glasses, gloves, synthetic apron, dust respirator

G–safety glasses, gloves, vapor respirator

H–splash goggles, gloves, synthetic apron,vapor respirator

I–safety glasses, gloves, dust and vapor respirator

J–splash goggles, gloves, synthetic apron, dust and vapor respirator

K–air line respirator, gloves, full suit, boots

X–Ask your supervisor for guidance

As a rule of thumb, any category with a “2” or higher should be considered as having the potential to create a dangerous situation. If you are unsure about any aspect of the chemical that you are handling, refer to the MSDS. Remember, at a minimum, always wear the personal protective equipment recommended. The purpose of the standard is to reduce the number of unprotected exposures to work place chemicals. It is meant to protect YOU!