Hazardous Materials in the form of solids, liquids or gases can be a danger to all living things, property and our environment. Because they are used in the manufacture and the shipment of all types of products they are very closely regulated. Within the regulations are the specifications for the clear labeling of these materials to announce their presence and thus to avoid the possibility of injury or damage. Developed by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Hazardous Material Symbols have become the international standard involved in identification labeling. Each hazardous material has its own specific symbol, colors, borders and printed information to help readily identify the danger one may encounter when coming in contact it. Besides the ANSI standard, many federal, state and local laws as well as international laws require Hazardous materials to be identified. Here is a listing of some of the basic Hazardous Material Symbols:
· Poison – Skull and crossbones, picturing a human skull and two crossbones.
· Radioactive – This is a trefoil symbol that contains a central circle. The symbol is a magenta color against a yellow background.
· Biohazard – A trefoil, three circles that overlap each other with the overlapping parts erased. Three inner circles are drawn with a 2/3 radius of the original circles.
· Warning sign – An exclamation mark within an equilateral triangle. It is usually accompanied by the name of the type of hazard involved.
· Chemical Hazard – A pictogram demonstrating the type of dangerous compounds and the specific risk to be encountered and the precautions to be taken.
· Laser Beam – A sunburst and its tail. Below the tail, precaution instructions as well as preventive actions are listed.
· Explosive – A series of wide, jagged lines escaping from a heat source, set within a square or triangle.
· Flammable - A flammable symbol denotes a substance that may catch fire if it comes into contact with the right conditions.
These symbols can be found on Accident Prevention Tags, Signs and labels. Some typical examples include the following: Poison – Cyanide; Radioactive – Uranium storage area; Biohazard – Raw Sewage; Chemical Hazard – Sulfuric Acid; Explosive - Gasoline The symbols were designed to be easily recognizable and thus act as instant notification of these and all hazards one faces, even before the rest of the notification is absorbed visually. These symbols also help satisfy the Department of Transportation (DOT) shipping regulations, so important in the shipping of materials either cross country or internationally, via boat, truck, train or plane.