Labeling Chemical Containers

The Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) Hazard Communication Standard requires that all hazardous chemicals be properly labeled. A Hazardous Chemical means an element, compound, or mixture of elements or compounds that is a physical or health hazard, or as a hazardous substance as defined in OSHA 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Z, Toxic or Hazardous Substances, or by the ACGIH, Threshold limits for Chemical Substances. Basically, any compound or chemical that is known to cause a health hazard or physical hazard is a hazardous chemical.

Original (Primary) Container Labels Must Be Maintained: (Normally, the original manufacturer's label in good condition will satisfy this requirement.) The supervisor of every university work area where containers of hazardous chemicals are present is responsible for assuring that the manufacturer or suppliers label is not removed or defaced, unless it is illegible or inaccurate. If re-labeling is re-quired, the label must include, at a minimum, the following items found on the material's MSDS; name of the chemical, the pertinent physical and health hazards, including the organs that would be affected and the manufacturer's name and address.

Secondary Containers Must Be Labeled: When a chemical is transferred from its original container into another container for other than immediate use, it is called a secondary container. The supervisor of every university work area is responsible for assuring that all secondary containers are labeled with at least:

  • The name of the chemical as it appears on the MSDS
  • The appropriate hazard warnings
  • The name of the person responsible for it
  • The date it was filled

Limited Exceptions to Labeling Requirement: A container may be unlabeled if it is a portable container intended for the immediate use (same work shift) of the student/employee who transferred the chemical from a properly labeled container. There are no other exceptions.

mgh Nov 1998