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An Introduction to Chemical Drum Labels

Governments around the world have been adopting various regulations for labeling chemical drums. The United Nations initially developed the GHS chemical drum guidelines that most countries are now integrating into their own chemical drum transport and safety regulations. Though there are differences from one country to the next, most chemical drum label regulations require the use of: color, pictograms, and extremely durable label stock that can withstand long-term immersion in seawater (BS5609-certified chemical drum labels).

Chemical Drum Labeling Regulations

In addition to looking up your country's specific chemical drum labeling requirements, you should familiarize yourself with the following:

Why Chemical Drum Labeling Regulations Exist

Due to their hazardous nature, certain chemicals are required to be labeled with clear warning labels. The United Nations' GHS chemical guidelines provides an international system that classifies chemicals and provides a set of best practices for labeling chemicals including the use of color and pictograms for consistent and easy-to-understand labels. Many nations have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, these guidelines. Chemical drum labeling is also required when shipping hazardous chemicals in maritime environments. Chemical drum labels must be printed on durable label stock that has passed BS5609 tests for long-term immersion in saltwater. BS5609 tests both the label material and its adhesive. In addition, chemical labeling is a workplace requirement in many countries to help ensure the safety of the workers and consumers who may be exposed to potentially harmful substances. 

Chemical Drum Labeling Compliance

In general, manufacturers, distributors, importers, exporters, and employers who manufacture, ship, distribute, or otherwise use certain chemicals must comply with any applicable chemical labeling regulations. For example, the manufacturer is typically required to affix compliant chemical drum labels to chemical drums. According to OSHA, employers are responsible for maintaining chemical labels found on drums and other containers to ensure that the labels remain legible and that all pertinent information remains intact. Employers are also generally required to provide workplace labels in compliance with HazCom 1994. Remember, chemical drum label requirements vary from one country to the next, making it crucial to check with the appropriate authorities in your country.

Is it Possible to Print Your Own Chemical Drum Labels?

Yes. In fact, many manufacturers, distributors, importers, exporters, and employers successfully print their own chemical drum labels on demand. Desktop GHS and BS5609 chemical drum label printing solutions make compliance with GHS and BS5609 standards much easier than in the past. 

What You Need to Print Your Own Chemical Labels

In order to print your own chemical drum labels, you will need:

  • Label design software that supports GHS chemical labeling guidelines such as BarTender or NiceLabel GHS label design software.
  • A compliant, large format chemical drum label printer
  • A supply of blank BS5609-certified chemical drum labels compatible with your specific printer. Each printer uses a different type of BS5609-certified labels, and Argon Technology has them all.

Chemical Label Printers

Argon Technology recommends the following GHS chemical pigment inkjet label printers:

  • Epson GP-C831 (wide format/ pin fed label printer), TM-C3400, TM-C3500, and TM-C7500 Compare Epson GHS Chemical label printers
  • VIPColor VP495
  • Primera CX1200
  • NeuraLabel 300x

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

Argon Technology recommends the following GHS chemical laser label printers:

Chemical Label Stock

While each of the above color label printers is GHS-compliant, the labels must be printed on BS5609-certified chemical labels that are specifically compatible with each of the above printers. These labels are not interchangeable. The labels and adhesives must be extraordinarily durable in order to withstand exposure to chemicals and possible immersion in saltwater. BS5609-certified chemical labels have been tested to the highest of standards — and certified as such — and are the most durable labels you can buy.

Argon Technology: Your Complete Resource for Chemical Labeling

Argon Technology carries everything you need to comply with chemical drum label requirements including a large selection of GHS-compliant color label printers including large format GHS chemical drum label printers, label printing supplies and accessories, and blank BS5609-certified chemical drum labels for all leading printer manufacturers. We also offer custom BS5609 chemical label rolls made in virtually any size or shape. Contact us today for assistance.