Labels on products are necessary directions that enable a user to be able to access a package with utmost safety and without damaging it. More so on chemical products, it is essential to have labels.
They keep the user safe by indicating any hazard or potential danger. Different labels are demarcated with different colors depending on their fatality. It is important to understand the different types and subtypes of labels that are available on the market for your safety -
There are broadly two types of Labels:
- Chemical Hazard Labels
Packaging Labelsprovide detailed directions about handling the package. For example ‘Fragile’, ‘Don’t bend’. Directions that pertain to the external handling of the package.
Chemical Hazard Labelsindicate if there is a corrosive or dangerous element inside the package that may need care and a certain type of expertise in handling. It also demarcates the potential danger or consequence of mishandling the product.
Chemical Hazard Labels
A chemical label may not specify what is in the package but definitely highlights the kind of danger that they may expose themselves to if the package is mishandled.
Types Of Chemical Hazard Labels:
Non-flammable Gas:This green colored label indicates the presence of a gas that is hazardous but not flammable. This means that the gas won’t explode, perhaps, maybe dangerous in other ways. Example: Helium in balloons.
Toxic Gas:A white label indicating a poisonous or dangerous gas essentially indicates harmful gases like Carbon Monoxide. It is non-inflammable but can kill.
Flammable Gas:As the name clearly suggests, flammable gas burns and is explosive. It can be fatal and needs to be stored and carried carefully. A red label that indicates ‘flammable gas being transported’ is symbolic of flammable gas.
Flammable Liquid:Just like flammable gas, flammable liquid is dangerous when in contact with air or heat and therefore needs to be handled with utmost care. For example, Petrol is a flammable liquid.
Flammable Solid:Solids that have the capability of catching fire or burning are dangerous and are denoted by a red hazard label. They may not deem as dangerous as they aren’t in liquid form and cannot spill, but they can definitely catch fire. For example, wax can easily catch fire.
Highly Flammable:Products that are highly likely to catch fire are designated as highly flammable. They are the products that catch fire fiercely and readily. They have to be handled with utmost care and precision. Those products are not just flammable.
Corrosive:The label ‘Corrosive’ is usually used to signify those substances(liquid, gas, etc) that can make any surface corrode rapidly. These are very dangerous and can destroy any material that they come in contact with. For example, potassium hydroxide is very corrosive in nature and can destroy surfaces.
Miscellaneous:There are a few labels that give a generic warning about danger or some kind of hazard, where the sender cannot specify the potential hazard that may be caused by the substance. In such cases ‘miscellaneous labels’ are used to caution the user and to handle the package carefully.
Packaging Hazard Labels:
These labels specify how to handle the package externally to not cause any harm or damage to the product inside or to the user handling the package.
They may or may not be used in conjunction with Chemical Hazard Labels, depending upon the substance/product inside.
Types Of Packaging Hazard Labels:
Fragile: Fragility of package content initiates the need for a label that says ‘fragile’. This mainly indicates that the content of such a package is breakable or can be easily damaged. Fragile content cannot be thrown or handled roughly as it will certainly break upon rough usage.
Handle With Care:This category of labels imparts specific directions regarding how the product has to be handled. Signs like ‘This Side Up’ and ‘Don’t crush’ ensure that specific products reach the recipient in the best possible condition.
Anti Static Labels:Labels that signify static and read ‘electrostatic sensitive devices’ are used on washing machines, electronic devices. These labels intimidate the user of these devices being sensitive to electrostatic interferences, hence, specify careful usage using ‘antistatic labels’.‘
Shockwatch Labels:An evolution in the process of packaged labeling, shockwatch labels tell the recipient if the package has been shocked. The label contains a glass vial that releases a red dye to indicate if the package has been mishandled.
Tiltwatch Labels:Functioning close to shockwatch labels, tiltwatch labels feature a label that ensures the suspension of the package at a certain angle. This label indicates mishandling by releasing a red dye if the package is carried at an angle that it is not meant to be carried at.
Appropriate labeling and packaging are very important for any product that is being shipped. Without the due warnings and instructions, a package in perfect condition may be damaged and henceforth be of no value to the recipient as well as the sender.
Chemical hazard labeling & packaging is even more significant in the case of chemical industries as a breach in the use of these labels may cause life-threatening damage. There are reliable websites that provide these labels & complete information about them.
For those who are working in the chemical industry, it is very important to properly understand the meaning and significance of each label, be it Packaging or Chemical. We need to understand that our safety is in our own hands!