Chemical containers should always be clearly labeled with the product name and hazard information. Never put chemicals into water bottles, cups, or other unlabeled containers. The manufacturer’s original container with product label is best – if it’s in good condition (replace any containers that are cracked or have missing parts). Check with the chemical manufacturer for spray bottle requirements.

All hazardous chemicals and products must have label containers that provide the following information:

  • Product identifier, which may be the product name or an identifying number that can be cross-referenced to the corresponding Safety Data Sheet (SDS), as well as to the list of hazardous chemicals that are maintained as part of the written Haz-Com program.
  • Signal words, which are used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard. The two signal words used are “Danger” and “Warning”. “Danger” is the signal word used for more severe hazards, while “Warning” is used for the less severe ones.
  • Hazard Statements, which are a relatively short statement assigned to a specific hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard. Examples of hazard statements include “Highly flammable liquid and vapor”, or “May cause liver damage.”
  • Precautionary Statements, which are phrases that list recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical or improper storage or handling. One example of a precautionary statement would be “Keep away from heat, flames, sparks. No Smoking.”
  • Pictograms, which are icons that appear in a small red box. There are eight different pictograms, and one or more might appear on a label; each one helps you quickly identify the specific type of hazard associated with the product.
  • Name, Address, and Telephone Number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party.

The Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH) at L&I has created a Workers’ Guide to Hazardous Chemicals (in English and Spanish) which is a free resource that provides information on using chemicals in the workplace, gives an overview of common hazard labels and universal hazard symbols, and provides answers to common questions, and a safety checklist.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also created universal hazard symbol quick cards that can be used to identify common hazard information (English and Spanish).

Download a PDF of this Toolbox Talks in English

Download a PDF of this Toolbox Talks in Spanish