Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Chemical labelling and information

Chemical labelling and information

When you receive any chemical it may be supplied with a safety data sheet (SDS). This is sometimes also referred to as a material safety data sheet. The SDS contains information about the chemical including:

  • how to store and use it safely
  • chemicals it is incompatible with, eg that you should not store it with
  • how to dispose of it safely.

When you receive a chemical, check the SDS to find out how to store it safely. If you receive a chemical without an SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether or not they have to provide one.

Understand hazard labels

If the chemical you receive is hazardous it should have a hazard label on it. These labels contain chemical hazard warning symbols that tell you what the risks of a chemical or product are. The hazard label will tell you whether a chemical is:

  • explosive
  • an oxidising agent
  • flammable
  • toxic
  • harmful
  • an irritant
  • corrosive
  • dangerous to the environment.

You should ensure that you and your staff are familiar with the hazard labels. You can download guidance on how to find out if chemicals are dangerous from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website.

HSE: Labelling and packaging

Mark vehicles that transport chemicals

If you carry chemicals in your vehicle, you must label your vehicle with the appropriate hazard warning label for those chemicals.

If you transport dangerous chemicals you must meet further requirements for packaging, labelling and documentation.

Northern Ireland: HSENI: Carriage of dangerous goods

Scotland: HSE: Carriage of dangerous goods

Manufacturing and supplying chemicals

If you manufacture or supply chemicals you may need to provide an SDS to your customers. This is now a requirement of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. You can download guidance on REACH and SDSs from the HSE website.

HSE: Reach and Safety Data Sheets (PDF, 158K)

If you manufacture or supply chemicals or chemical products you must also package and label them with the appropriate hazard labels.You can find hazard warning label information on the HSE website.

HSE: Labelling and Packaging

Further information

Northern Ireland: HSENI: carriage of dangerous goods

Scotland: HSE: Carriage of dangerous goods

HSE: CLP regulations

In this Guideline

REACH and storing chemicals

Storage, handling and delivery of chemicals

Bulk chemical storage - tanks and drums

Secondary containment systems for chemicals

Small-scale chemical storage - Cabinets, shelves and vehicles

Chemical labelling and information

Avoiding and dealing with chemical spills

Temperature controlled chemical storage

Waste chemicals and chemical containers

Chemical storage environmental legislation

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