The first step of ensuring chemical safety is to complete an up to date inventory of all chemicals in the workplace. As part of this inventory, safety data sheets (SDSs) should be sourced from the manufacturer or supplier of the product. The manufacturer or supplier of a product is responsible for evaluating and classifying chemicals in accordance with national and international legislation. The identified classification must be communicated to your company by means of a safety data sheet and product label. The product label and SDS are the most important sources of information about the hazardous properties of your chemical.
They will present the following information to help you identify the hazards relevant to your products:
- Hazard pictograms
- Hazard statements.
In addition, the product label and SDS will also provide information on how you can mitigate the potential risks in the form of precautionary statements.
The hazard pictogram gives you a quick indication of the hazards associated with the chemical. Each pictogram has been standardised by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and consists of a symbol on a white background within a red border.
Each pictogram identified a unique hazard associated with your product. It is important to note that your product label or SDS may have multiple hazards associated with it and will therefore display more than one pictogram.