Chemical Labeling

Under the Cal-OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (CCR, Title 8, 5194) all chemical containers must be properly labeled – unless a material is temporarily put into a new container for immediate use and is not going to be stored after that immediate use. Labeling requirements for all hazardous substances are summarized as follows:

General requirements

  • All containers of hazardous materials must be labeled with the identity of the hazardous substance
  • The label must contain all applicable hazard warning statements, e.g. flammable, carcinogen, corrosive

Sigma sodium nitrite container

For commercial materials in the original vendor’s container

  • Manufacturer’s product labels must remain on all containers, and must not be defaced

For materials repackaged in the laboratory

  • Labels must be legible, in English, and provide the info above under general requirements
  • This includes secondary containers (such as spray bottles and acid/base baths) and must be labeled as above
  • New synthesized compounds, or commercial products that are repackaged, must be labeled with the appropriate hazard warnings based on the knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of that substance.


GHS The Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling

Cal-OSHA adopted use of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of chemical classification and labeling which supersedes earlier systems.  On the next page is a summary of the terms used in the system: Hazard Statements, Hazard Classes, Signal Words and Pictograms, etc. Campus chemical users should familiarize themselves with the basic aspects of this system and they will eventually see these terms used on all containers they receive from chemical vendors.