4.0 Labels and Signage


Safety Practices

  • Never use a cylinder whose contents cannot be positively identified.  All cylinders should bear an identification tag stating the name of the gas or mixture and a tag stating one of the three conditions: full, in-service, empty.
  • Improper handling of hazardous substances can cause injury, ill health to a person and cause damage to property or the environment.

Labels

All compress gas cylinders are clearly labeled with the correct name of their chemical contents by the gas manufacturer or supplier according to DOT and OSHA regulations. Manufacturer labels on gas cylinders include gaseous chemical name, composition, and hazardous properties as shown below.

Samples of Labels on Cylinders

Physical hazard, health hazard and DOT class of significant laboratory gases are listed in Appendices 1 and 2.

  • Never rely on the color of the cylinder for gaseous chemical identification.  Color-coding is not reliable because colors can vary with the supplier, they can appear different under artificial lights, and some people are color blind.
  • Never rely on the color of the cylinder cap for gaseous chemical identification
  • Never rely on the label affixed on the cap, if any. Caps can be easily interchanged.
  • Never use a cylinder whose contents cannot be positively identified.
  • Do not remove or deface any marks or tags attached to the cylinder by the supplier.
  • If the labeling or the attached tag on a cylinder becomes unreadable or is missing, the cylinder should be marked “contents unknown” and returned to the supplier.

One of three cylinder conditions, namely (FULL, IN-SERVICE, OR EMPTY) should help the researchers to identify the cylinder status. The three part tags can be purchased from Thermo Fisher, VWR, Grainger (previously Lab Safety Supply) or other safety supply vendors. An example of commercially available three-part tag and the in-house usage is depicted in the example picture below.

Three-Part Tag

All gas lines leading from a compressed gas supply should be clearly labeled with the identity of the gas, the laboratory or area served, and pertinent emergency telephone numbers.

Signage

It is recommended that an appropriate “Danger” or “Warning” sign be posted where acutely toxic, corrosive, oxidizing, or flammable gases are stored, handled (GHS Health hazard 1 to 3 or NFPA 4 and 3) or used. Gas specific signs can be purchased from Thermo Fisher, VWR, Grainger (previously Lab Safety Supply) or other safety supply vendors.


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