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Cleanroom Labeling

2 min read

Cleanrooms, a controlled environment with low-levels of pollutants, can typically be found in manufacturing or scientific research. When building and setting up a cleanroom in your own facility, it is important to take into consideration the sensitive environment of these rooms.

clean room labelsThe High Cost of Clean: Cleanrooms in a Nutshell

To fully understand the cost and gravity of what it takes to build and maintain a cleanroom, let’s look at an example of the real cost of building one.

In 1988, Yale University spent $1.2 million to build their original cleanroom. Its size was relatively small—2,600 feet, or about a quarter of the size of your average high school gymnasium. (They later spent $8 million in 2009 on renovations.)

For perspective: back in 1988, the median American income was just south of $25K, the average rent in U.S. cost $420 a month, and filling up your gas tank cost under ten bucks.

Because of its strict requirements, high cost for building and maintenance, and the importance

of the work done in these facilities, a cleanroom necessitates a level of caution higher than most other worksites. To contaminate these highly sensitive areas is to possibly corrupt or disrupt production or research, so it’s crucial to take necessary steps to preserve the integrity of the cleanroom.

Visual Reminders for PPE and General Regulations

It’s important to give workers and visitors plenty of reminders and warnings of the unique nature of the cleanroom, and what specific equipment or apparel—cleanroom suits, gloves, etc.—is required before entering, as well as what is prohibited. This can be accomplished with warning signs and labels in appropriate and conspicuous locations.

While each cleanroom is unique to their facility, there are many common PPE and procedural warnings that are often deployed in most all cleanrooms covering topics such as:

  • Personal items and actions prohibited/excepted
  • No eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking notices
  • No cosmetics
  • Appropriate garment/PPE warnings
  • Approved/prohibited items for cleanroom use
  • Cleaning processes
  • Contamination warnings
  • Entry and exit processes
  • Chemical storage and handling warnings
  • Safety warnings and protocols

Use the Proper Products for the Environment

It’s important to use labels designed specifically for cleanrooms.

The sensitivities of cleanrooms call for special products, ones that are engineered specifically to perform in low-humidity, static-prone environments. Labels used in cleanrooms must be made from material that won’t crack or peel and consequently corrupt the integrity of the room.

LabelTac® printers and supply can provide tough, high-quality labels built to thrive in these environments, which are known for causing defects in printed text in graphics.

LabelTac® ESD Supply was designed specifically for low-humidity and static-prone environments. ESD Supply prints crisp and clean, to ensure labels are easy to read and will provide stellar performance in these stress- intensive environments.

The Importance of Labeling

2 min read

In addition to signs in the workplace, labels are another great component to add to any visual communication program. From identifying hazards to organization, labels are a simple and cost-effective way to improve your facility.

labels and signsA key component of any organizational program, labeling is the easiest way to quickly and visually identify proper placement of tools, materials, and equipment.

For example, drawers of tool chests can be labeled with their contents so employees can easily find what they need. The floor can even be labeled indicating where trash cans, machinery, and other equipment should be placed so these things always find their way back to where they belong. Labels can also help with asset tagging. Keeping track of tools and equipment can be especially difficult in large facilities and labeling them with a specific number or name will help workers find what they need quickly.

This type of labeling makes it easy for even people unfamiliar with your system to locate items and return them to the right places. It also helps with sustaining organizational processes because once everything is properly labeled, it’s easier for employees to keep 5S in focus on a daily basis. If they ever forget the location of something, the answer is right in front of them.

In addition, larger signs, banners, and posters can be used to convey messages of organization or safety, including reminders of the 5S process. Large signs can be posted above storage areas, for example, to facilitate clean-up at the end of shifts.

Safety programs can also be enhanced with labeling. Facilities with electrical equipment or other dangerous tools should properly label these hazards so workers understand the risks. For instance, electrical panels should be labeled with a Danger label and a message communicating the high voltage. Additionally, hazardous chemicals must be labeled in compliance with GHS.

Visual communication is key for both organization and safety. Sometimes, safety signs aren’t enough! Improve your visual management strategies by adding labels. Labels come in many shapes and sizes, and you are sure to find one that fits your facilities needs.

Creating A GHS Compliant Label

2 min read

Creating A GHS Compliant LabelOSHA updated their Hazard Communication Standard in 2012 to officially align itself with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling. With the update, hazardous chemicals must be labeled with the required elements outlined in the GHS standard. If your facility manufactures, imports, or distributes any materials identified by GHS, you will need to label any containers with the proper label. While you can order GHS labels from a catalog or a company, you can save money and time by creating your own labels in house.

Creating a compliant and professional-grade GHS label is easier than you may think. The first step is to understand the elements you will need to include on the label:

  1. Product Name or Identifier: This states the chemical’s identifier in bold, unmistakable text that’s immediately apparent to anyone viewing the label. The identifier can be the chemical name, code number, or batch number, among other options. Whatever identifier is chosen will need also be the identifier on the Safety Data Sheet.
  2. Signal Word: A label’s signal word indicates the level of hazard a chemical pose to people and the environment. The two acceptable signal words are “Danger” and “Warning,” and only the most appropriate signal word should be printed on the label. 
  3. Hazard Pictograms: Simple, straightforward illustrations offer clear information on the hazard contained within, even without reading the attached text. There are nine pictograms approved by OSHA including a pictogram for corrosive materials, flammable chemicals, and more.
  4. Hazard Statements: A more detailed text-based explanation of a chemical’s hazards that explains how and why the chemical poses a risk to people and the environment. The hazard statement is based off the hazard classification and typically includes a designated code.
  5. Precautionary Statements: The precautionary statements cover best practices to avoid accidents when using a chemical, and briefly explains what to do (or, more accurately, which medical professionals should be contacted) in the event of a fire, unintended exposure, or other accident.
  6. Contact Information: Contact information for the chemical’s manufacturer or distributor needs to be included on the label. This usually includes the name, address, and telephone number of the responsible party.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s)

All of the information you’ll need to create a GHS-compliant HazCom label can be found on a chemical’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS), which should be shipped alongside a chemical by its manufacturer or distributor. More detailed and standardized than the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) prescribed by OSHA regulations prior to the 2012 update, these Safety Data Sheets offer a comprehensive explanation of a chemical’s properties, its potential hazards, and guidelines on safe handling and storage — there’s even information on who to call in the event of an emergency.

It is critical for chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors to be in line with the GHS standard, officially adopted by OSHA. Following GHS will not only keep your workers safe but can keep emergency personnel or customers safe as well. You can print professional-grade OSHA labels in house with an industrial label printer, making compliance simple and attainable.