August 18, 2009
The page includes a rating explanation guide and a link to the NFPA 704 standard to help users choose the correct hazard level. On the preview page, one more click lets users select materials from 1-inch vinyl labels to 30-inch aluminum signs. If you need NFPA diamonds, visit our custom NFPA sign generator today.
Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and workers compensation.
Many people who ship batteries or other common materials don't appreciate the hazards they pose - or the requirements for shipping hazardous materials. Identification of a hazardous material is the first step in safe shipping, and frequently the most difficult.
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard requires chemical manufacturers and importers to provide hazard information via shipping labels and MSDSs. But employers who use such chemicals have strict responsibilities, as well. These include:
- Preparing and implementing a written hazard communication program
- Ensuring that all containers are labeled
- Providing employees access to labels and MSDSs
- Conducting effective training for all potentially exposed employees
Learn more with these resources:
OSHA hazard communication standards
Frequently asked questions: Hazard communication
Hazardous communications self-inspection checklist
OSHA safety and health topics: Hazardous and toxic substances
OSHA safety and health topics: Solvents
What You Should Know: A Guide to Developing a Hazardous Materials Training Program explains training requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 100-185), identifies which employees must be trained, and provides a tool to help hazmat employers determine what type of training and training environment may be best for their employees.
The NFPA "fire diamond" or "hazmat diamond" quickly and easily identifies the risks posed by short-term, acute exposure to a material under conditions of fire, spill or similar emergencies. This information is invaluable to emergency personnel to help them determine what, if any, specialty equipment or procedures should be followed in an emergency response. In the workplace, the diamond can help remind employees to use necessary protective equipment and procedures, as well.
The diamond system is described in NFPA Standard 704, maintained by the National Fire Protection Association. The system identifies four key hazards (health, flammability, instability and special) and their degree of severity. Hazard severity is rated numerically, ranging from 0 (minimal) to 4 (severe).
- Health: Blue, left corner
- Flammability: Red, top corner
- Instability: Yellow, right corner
- Special: White, bottom corner
Various symbols are used in the special hazards section to indicate the material has unusual reactivity with water, is oxidizing, corrosive or has other unusual properties. Check with local authorities for required and/or non-permitted symbols for this area.
Where to post NFPA placards
Refer to NFPA 704 Section 4.3, Location of Signs, for specifics. At a minimum, diamonds should be posted on the two exterior walls of a facility, at access to a room or area or at each main access to an exterior storage area. Remember, placards give key hazard information to emergency responders, so they should be visible wherever responders are likely to enter. If there are several areas where responders could enter, there should be several placards. If you're not sure, ask for advice from your local emergency departments.
- 70% of accidents resulted from flying or falling objects or sparks
- Contact with chemicals caused 20% of injuries
- Nearly 60% of workers injured were not wearing eye protection
by proper protective eyewear.
To reduce eye injuries in your workplace:
- Use the right protection - Eyewear must be appropriate for hazards encountered and properly fitted
- Nearly 20% of injuries with eye protection occurred to workers wearing face shields or welding helmets
- Only 6% occurred to workers wearing goggles
- Maintain eyewear - Scratched and dirty devices reduce vision, cause glare and may contribute to accidents
- Train employees - About 40% of workers surveyed received no information on what kind of eyewear to use and where to use it
objects or chemicals going around or under the protector.