Last updated on January 21, 2021
Whether you are working in a laboratory, buying paint thinner at the hardware store, or driving behind a gasoline tanker truck on the road, you regularly see hazard communication (HAZCOM) symbols. These symbols can assist in keeping you safe as well as identify the hazards at the site that may need special waste disposal.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) determines the markings for hazardous materials in transit. These labels and placards are color-coded, with pictograms and the DOT hazard class (number in the bottom corner of the diamond).
HAZCOM Standard Safety Labels
The Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) through OSHA defines the pictograms used on Safety Data Sheets (SDS). The United Nations adopted GHS in 2003 to improve compliance on an international level. Very similar to the pictograms on DOT containers, these are black and white images with a red border.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) diamond is a “Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response.” Each color represents a different hazard, and as the numbers climb, the higher the hazard.
- Red: Flammable
- Blue: Health
- Yellow: Instability
- White: Specific (e.g., oxidizer, water-reactive, corrosivity)
Below are some hazardous categories and related symbols to look out for.
Hazard communication is all around you if you look. Contact us to learn more about our hazardous waste solutions.