If your company handles hazardous materials, then it’s vital you handle them safely. And legally. The same goes if you must transport these hazardous materials. If you choose not to consider these things, you run the risk of harming yourself, your employees, and the environment. Not to mention the threat of fines and criminal charges. In this brief but helpful article, we’ll explore the vital role that warning labels play in helping us safely handle and transport hazardous materials.
As a communication tool, warning labels supply vital information about the potential dangers associated with a specific hazardous material. A well-designed warning label will always do this. The way to achieve this is to always keep your label design clear, concise, and easy to understand. There’s nothing to gain from designing labels that neither capture your attention nor make sense. Use bold, contrasting colours, combined with strong, legible fonts.
Also, consider using the right symbols for your warning labels. Symbols that are universally accepted and understood often prove a more powerful tool of communication than words, particularly as they can cross language barriers.
As well as your label’s design, you must consider what your warning label is made of. Materials that are durable are key. Your warning label must be able to withstand extreme temperatures and abrupt temperature changes, exposure to harsh chemicals (including the chemicals the label is warning against), moisture, and sunlight.
By using the right materials for your warning labels, you ensure that your labels stay legible and intact for the entire time they are needed.
All your hard work up until now will be for nothing if you place your warning label in the wrong place. Warning labels should be placed in areas that are both easy to see and are less likely to be obstructed or damaged during handling or transportation. For example, on a piece of farming machinery, you must position the label where it can be quickly and easily referred to; that way, anyone who is new to the machinery can take the proper instruction and heed the proper warnings.
During the design process, you must also take note of where you plan to place your labels, so that you can make a label that fits the desired area exactly. If your label is the wrong size, you run the risk that the information on the label won’t be understood quickly enough.
Yes, it’s vital to design the right warning label. But if it doesn’t convey the right information, again, you are running the risk it will be misunderstood. You also run the risk that it will be illegal. To avoid this, consult the regulatory body relevant to where your business is.
In Victoria, the following links should be able to help you:
Once you know the information for your warning labels is correct and compliant, you must set it out in a way that is easy to read and understand. The overall design will help achieve this, but the information must be clear and concise, with no room for ambiguity. Use plain English and an active voice and your warning labels will work efficiently and properly.
Of course, there are no rules when it comes to warning labels (aside from the rules around compliance); that said, it’s always best to follow a trusted template or set of steps to ensure you create warning labels that work. Treat the process with patience and a thorough mindset and you’ll succeed.