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Hazard statement

Written by Steve Hudgik May 2013

OSHA HCS Guide

A "hazard statement" is part of the information that is required by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to be included on Globally Harmonized System (GHS) labels.

Hazard statements are predetermined, assigned, standardized phrases that describe the hazard(s) of a material based on its hazard classification. For any material that has one or more hazards, the appropriate hazard statement for each GHS hazard must be included on the GHS label.

There is a specific phrase assigned to each hazard category. That phrase describes the nature of the hazard. Examples of hazard statements include:

  • Harmful if swallowed
  • Highly flammable liquid and vapor
  • Fatal if swallowed
  • Harmful to aquatic life

Other Information on GHS Labels:

In addition to hazard statements, other information that is required on GHS labels includes:

Hazard Statement – GHS Codes

Each hazard statement has a designated code associated with it. The code should never be used on a GHS label. The code is only used for reference purposes. For example, the code helps when the hazard statement needs to be translated to another language. Only the hazard statement phrase(s) should appear on GHS labels.

Each hazard statement code starts with the letter "H" followed by a three-digit number. The numbers are grouped based on the three categories of hazard statements:

  1. Physical Hazards (numbers are in the 200's)
  2. Health Hazards (numbers are in the 300's)
  3. Environmental Hazards (numbers are in the 400's)

Hazard Statement vs Precautionary Statement

A precautionary statement is also included on a GHS label, and should not be confused with the hazard statement. The precautionary statement is used to give recommended measures used to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from:

  • Exposure to the hazardous material
  • Improper storage
  • Improper handling

There are four types of precautionary statements:

  • Prevention (to minimize exposure)
  • Response (in case of accidental spillage, exposure emergency response, or first-aid)
  • Storage
  • Disposal

An example of a precautionary statement would be:

Do not breathe dust/fume/gas/mist/vapors/spray. Get medical advice/attention if you feel unwell. Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local/regional/national and international regulations.

Other examples of precautionary statements include:

  • Keep away from heat/sparks/open flame/hot surfaces - No Smoking
  • Keep/Store away from clothing and combustible materials
  • Keep only in original container

GHS Standard Hazard Statements

The following are the GHS hazard statements. The wording that is provided is what must be used on GHS labels. The code should not be included on the label.

Physical Hazard Statements

  • H200: Unstable explosive
  • H201: Explosive; mass explosion hazard
  • H202: Explosive; severe projection hazard
  • H203: Explosive; fire, blast or projection hazard
  • H204: Fire or projection hazard
  • H205: May mass explode in fire
  • H220: Extremely flammable gas
  • H221: Flammable gas
  • H222: Extremely flammable aerosol
  • H223: Flammable aerosol
  • H224: Extremely flammable liquid and vapor
  • H225: Highly flammable liquid and vapor
  • H226: Flammable liquid and vapor
  • H227: Combustible liquid
  • H228: Flammable solid
  • H229: Pressurized container: may burst if heated
  • H230: May react explosively even in the absence of air
  • H231: May react explosively even in the absence of air at elevated pressure and/or temperature
  • H240: Heating may cause an explosion
  • H241: Heating may cause a fire or explosion
  • H242: Heating may cause a fire
  • H250: Catches fire spontaneously if exposed to air
  • H251: Self-heating; may catch fire
  • H252: Self-heating in large quantities; may catch fire
  • H260: In contact with water releases flammable gases which may ignite spontaneously
  • H261: In contact with water releases flammable gas
  • H270: May cause or intensify fire; oxidizer
  • H271: May cause fire or explosion; strong oxidizer
  • H272: May intensify fire; oxidizer
  • H280: Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated
  • H281: Contains refrigerated gas; may cause cryogenic burns or injury
  • H290: May be corrosive to metals

Health Hazard Statements

  • H300: Fatal if swallowed
  • H301: Toxic if swallowed
  • H302: Harmful if swallowed
  • H303: May be harmful if swallowed
  • H304: May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways
  • H305: May be harmful if swallowed and enters airways
  • H310: Fatal in contact with skin
  • H311: Toxic in contact with skin
  • H312: Harmful in contact with skin
  • H313: May be harmful in contact with skin
  • H314: Causes severe skin burns and eye damage
  • H315: Causes skin irritation
  • H316: Causes mild skin irritation
  • H317: May cause an allergic skin reaction
  • H318: Causes serious eye damage
  • H319: Causes serious eye irritation
  • H320: Causes eye irritation
  • H330: Fatal if inhaled
  • H331: Toxic if inhaled
  • H332: Harmful if inhaled
  • H333: May be harmful if inhaled
  • H334: May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled
  • H335: May cause respiratory irritation
  • H336: May cause drowsiness or dizziness
  • H340: May cause genetic defects
  • H341: Suspected of causing genetic defects
  • H350: May cause cancer
  • H351: Suspected of causing cancer
  • H360: May damage fertility or the unborn child
  • H361: Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child
  • H362: May cause harm to breast-fed children
  • H370: Causes damage to organs
  • H371: May cause damage to organs
  • H372: Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure
  • H373: May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure

Environmental Hazard Statements

  • H400: Very toxic to aquatic life
  • H401: Toxic to aquatic life
  • H402: Harmful to aquatic life
  • H410: Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects
  • H411: Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects
  • H412: Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects
  • H413: May cause long lasting harmful effects to aquatic life
  • H420: Harms public health and the environment by destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere

Other GHS Label Elements

GHS labels must include other information in addition to the hazard statement. Other GHS label elements include pictograms, a product identifier, signal word, and supplier identification. A quick look GHS training terms:

  • Pictograms: There are nine predefined pictograms that are used on GHS labels. They consist of a symbol inside a diamond that has a red border. Each pictogram identifies a hazard class such as acute toxicity or eye/skin irritation.
  • Product identifier: This is a name (or number) that is a unique way to identify the chemical. This can be the chemical name, code number, or batch number. The manufacturer, importer or distributor can decide the appropriate product identifier.  For mixtures the label should identify the ingredients responsible for the hazards characteristics of the mixture.
  • Signal word: The signal word indicates the relative severity of the hazard. There are only two signal words used, “Danger” and “Warning.” Danger is used for severe hazards that represent risk to life.  Warning is used for the less severe hazards. Only one signal word will be on a label no matter how many hazards a chemical may have. Some categories of hazards and unclassified products require neither signal words nor pictograms.
  • Supplier identification: This is the name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer, importer, or supplier of the substance.

Making GHS Labels

Printing GHS labels requires the ability to include custom information on each label. That's why DuraLabel printers have become one of the leading options for making GHS labels. With a DuraLabel printer you can make as many copies as you need of each label, and creating each individual label is quick and easy. Call 888.326.8244 today to learn more about DuraLabel printers and GHS supplies.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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