FREE - Introduction to 5S

FREE - OSHA Safety Sign Best Practices Guide

FREE - Arc Flash Practical Solution Guide Handbook

FREE - Pipe Marker Guides

FREE - Sample Labels

Lab Safety Signs - When Working with Toxic and Hazardous Substances

OSHA NFPA Best Practices Guide
Free NFPA Diamond Guide

Written by Steve Hudgik

OSHA standard 1910.1450 Appendix A requires specific wording on lab safety signs under certain circumstances. For example, chemical storage areas must be identified with signs indicating the basic class of chemicals stored within that area. Other, more specific signage may be required depending on the chemicals in the storage area (see below). Some examples include:

  1. When work is done using chemicals of moderate chronic, or high acute toxicity, these chemicals must be used and stored only in areas of restricted access with special warning signs.
  2. When work is done using chemicals of high chronic toxicity, the controlled area must be conspicuously marked with warning and restricted access signs. All containers used for these substances must be appropriately labeled with the identity of the substance and warnings about the hazards. Materials of unknown toxicity must always be assumed to be extremely hazardous.

In addition, OSHA requires that the following types of lab safety signs should be prominently posted:

(a) After hours contact phone numbers must be posted on exterior laboratory doors and near laboratory telephones. It is important to keep this phone contact information current. Signs should be immediately replaced whenever contact information changes.

(b) Labels identifying the contents of containers, including waste receptacles, and the associated hazards of the container contents. Although not required by OSHA, containers not used for hazardous materials should also be conspicuously labeled.

(c) Signs should be used to direct people towards, and identifying the locations of safety showers, eyewash stations, and other safety and first aid equipment, exits and areas where food and beverage consumption and storage are permitted. In addition, safety showers and eyewashes must be easily accessible, marked and available. To make it easier for an eyewash station to be found, signs may need to be placed on the floor in addition to walls.

(d) Emergency evacuation routes must be posted in each lab. The emergency exit routes should be clearly shown on the signs such that both staff and visitors will have no difficulty locating exit routes from both the lab and the building. Signs in the lab, and along the emergency exit routes, should point to the path to be followed.

(e) Danger, warning or caution signs should be used anyplace, or on any equipment where special or unusual hazards exist

Lab Safety Signs - Signs Required For Specific Chemicals

In addition to general standards for lab safety signs, OSHA has specific requirements that apply to certain hazardous chemicals. For example, OSHA standard 1910.1003(e) specifically applies to the following:

  • 4-Nitrobiphenyl, CAS No. 92933
  • alpha-Naphthylamine, CAS No. 134327
  • methyl chloromethyl ether, CAS No. 107302
  • 3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine (and its salts) CAS No. 91941
  • bis-Chloromethyl ether, CAS No. 542881
  • beta-Naphthylamine, CAS No. 91598
  • Benzidine, CAS No. 92875
  • 4-Aminodiphenyl, CAS No. 92671
  • Ethyleneimine, CAS No. 151564
  • beta-Propiolactone, CAS No. 57578
  • 2-Acetylaminofluorene, CAS No. 53963
  • 4-Dimethylaminoazo-benzene, CAS No. 60117
  • N-Nitrosodimethylamine, CAS No. 62759

Free NFPA Diamond Guide for RTK Labels

A complete reference to the RTK Label - NFPA Diamond

OSHA 1910.1003(e)(2) specifies the requirements for lab safety signs when any of these chemicals is present. These requirements include:


  • The employer shall post entrances to regulated areas with signs bearing the legend:
    • DANGER


  • The employer shall post signs at entrances to regulated areas containing operations covered in paragraph (c)(5) of this section. The signs shall bear the legend:
    • DANGER


  • Appropriate signs and instructions shall be posted at the entrance to, and exit from, regulated areas, informing employees of the procedures that must be followed in entering and leaving a regulated area.


  • Prohibited statements. No statement shall appear on or near any required sign, label, or instruction that contradicts or detracts from the effect of any required warning, information, or instruction.

Some of the other chemicals with specific OSHA requirements for lab safety signs include:

  • Acrylonitrile - 29 CFR 1910.1045(p)
  • Benzene - 29 CFR 1910.1028(j)
  • Cadmium - 29 CFR 1910.1027(m)
  • DBCP - 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane - 29 CFR 1910.1044(o)
  • Vinyl Chloride - 29 CFR 1910.1017(l)(1)

Lab Safety Signs - Where Do They Come From?

When you need lab safety signs, or to update existing lab safety signs, just use your DuraLabel printer. DuraLabel custom label and sign printers easily handle making all of the needed lab safety signs. From OSHA required slip and fall safety signs, to GHS labels for secondary containers, DuraLabel printers make tough, long-lasting signs and and labels. Your DuraLabel printer can also handle all of your electrical, maintenance, housekeeping, and even traffic control and parking signs. Call 1-888-326-9244 today to learn more about DuraLabel sign and label printers. Ask about the industry leading DuraLabel warranties and free technical support.


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.

Trusted by: