Label all containers of hazardous materials to identify the contents. University labeling requirements and guidelines include the following:

  • Inspect incoming containers of hazardous chemicals to ensure that containers have legible labels.
  • If you receive a new chemical (one not previously used in your laboratory), retain the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the laboratory file, unless your lab prefers to maintain SDSs electronically. Inform laboratory personnel about the hazards of the chemical. See Chapter 1 of this Manual for information on obtaining SDSs.
  • If the composition of a chemical produced in the lab is unknown, assume it is hazardous.
  • If you produce a chemical for another user outside the lab, you must comply with the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.1200, including preparation of an SDS. Contact EHS for assistance.
  • Clearly spell out the name of the chemical on the label any time you transfer substances from original containers to secondary containers, or when synthesizing/mixing new substances, if the substances are not for the immediate use of the handler or preparer. Do not use molecular formulas as sole identification. For example, do not write H2SO4 only on a label to identify the contents as sulfuric acid. The label must read “Sulfuric Acid”.
  • In the case of buffer solutions, it is appropriate to identify the contents as “Buffer Solution” and include the type of buffer in its abbreviated form (e.g. “Buffer Solution – Tris”). Consult the EHS Safety Labels webpage for examples.