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BS5609 Labeling Basics

British Standard 5609 (BS5609) is a label testing requirement specified by various regulations governing the shipment and labeling of items containing certain chemicals. For example, BS5609 testing is required of self adhesive drum labels that are subject to International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) certification. Smithers Pira is an independent testing authority that provides BS5609 testing and certification services. BS5609-certified labels are internationally recognized as being extremely durable and suitable for labeling goods for marine shipment.

BS5609 Label Testing Requirements

Several regulations require BS5609-certified labels including IMDG, Merchant Shipping Regulations, and GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification) standards. BS5609 testing involves multiple tests that test the label's durability, stability, abrasion resistance, peel adhesion, print permanence, color fastness despite harsh environmental conditions (such as sea spray and sunlight), resistance to print removal, and ability to withstand long-term immersion in saltwater. BS5609 certification certifies that all aspects of the label, including base material, adhesive, and print, have passed these rigorous tests and can be used to comply with applicable chemical drum labeling requirements.

Why BS5609 Labels are Required

Why require durable labels that can withstand harsh environmental conditions, and why require independent testing and certification? The dangerous nature of certain substances requires warning labels so that those who encounter containers containing these substances can take appropriate precautions. However, what good is a disintegrated, illegible, or missing warning label? BS5609 labels are designed to hold up, even when exposed to the harshest conditions for extended time periods.

Who Must Comply with BS5609 Labeling Requirements

With numerous regulations requiring BS5609 labels, many manufacturers, distributors, shipping companies, importers and exporters, and other businesses must comply with BS5609 labeling requirements. In general, if you manufacturer or ship chemicals, you are likely subject to labeling requirements.

Printing Your Own BS5609 Labels

In the past, printing your own BS5609 labels was difficult for smaller manufacturers. Options included using a third party commercial printing service or buying preprinted, generic warning labels that could not be customized. Today, color label printers exist that are capable of desktop BS5609 label production.

What You Need to Print Your Own BS5609 Labels

In order to print your own BS5609 labels, you will need a BS5609-compliant color label printer, label design software with GHS pictograms, and BS5609-certified blank label stock compatible with your specific label printer. 

BS5609 Label Printers

Inkjet-style BS5609-compliant color label printers:

  • VIPColor: VP495
  • Primera Technology: Primera LX2000
  • Neuralog: NeuraLabel 300x

Compare VIPColor VP495, Primera LX2000, and NeuraLabel 300x Color Label Printers

BS5609-compliant digital laser label printers:

  • Primera Technology: Primera CX1000, CX1200
  • Afinia Label: Afinia R635
  • iSys Label: iSys Edge 850 and Apex 1290
  • NeuraLog: NeuraLabel 500e

Compare Primera, Afinia, iSys and NeuraLog BS5609 Label Printers

BS5609-Certified Label Stock

As important as choosing the right compliant label printer itself is, the label printer on its own is not enough. You must also purchase BS5609-certified labels designed specifically for use with your specific compliant color label printer. BS5609-certified labels are certified for use with specific label printers. They are not interchangeable from one label printer to the next, making it important to choose the right label for your label printer. They have been tested and certified to meet all applicable BS5609 label requirements.

Argon Technology: Everything You Need to Print BS5609 Labels

Fortunately, Argon Technology has everything you need to print your own BS5609 labels including BS5609-compliant inkjet and laser color label printers, replacement ink cartridges and supplies, and a large selection of BS5609 labels certified for use with specific color label printers. We are BS5609 label printing specialists and ready to help you with any questions you may have. Contact us today to get started printing your own BS5609 labels.