If you are involved in business operations that use products on the job that are often transferred into smaller containers, you may have a legal obligation to label those containers. OSHA regulates the way chemicals that are used on the job are labeled. Keep in mind that a product that you might not necessarily think of as being a hazardous chemical may actually be one according to OSHA’s definition.
OSHA is the government agency that enforces the regulations that deal with employee safety. Many states have their own program so they do not depend on the federal government for enforcement, but their regulations often are identical to the federal ones. In fact, a state’s program cannot be less stringent than the federal requirements.
The labeling of containers is covered under OSHA’s hazard communication standard. It is sometimes referred to as the right-to-know rule. It states that employees have the right to know about any hazards that are associated with products that they are using on the job. They also have the right to know how to protect themselves against those hazards.
Things like small bottles must be labeled unless they are for the immediate use of the person who transferred the material into that bottle. If it is likely to be used by someone else later, it must be labeled. On the other hand, since these types of bottles are often discarded and replaced, it becomes a never ending battle to keep them labeled properly.
The key to keeping bottles and other small containers labeled properly is to make it easy and convenient to do so. Companies like Dispensa-Matic can provide you with a bottle labeler that is fast and easy to operate. The labeler can easily be placed near where the empty bottles are stored so that an employee who is retrieving a bottle to use can quickly print the label for it before returning to his or her work station.
While making sure every bottle in the workplace is labeled might seem to be a bit picky, it can keep you out of trouble with the regulators during an inspection. Unlabeled bottles are easy to spot for someone who is trained to look for them. It is much easier to have a program in place that ensures these containers have their proper labels than it is to deal with an OSHA citation that was issued for failure to do so.