Secondary Container Labeling-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, September 12, 2016

Secondary Container Labeling

In Lab Safety training you will have learned about the Globally Harmonized System, a world-wide process to uniformly provide information on the hazards of chemical materials in the workplace.  One of the important elements of the program is the presence of standardized hazard labeling of chemical containers.

When a chemical has been ordered after June 15, 2015, the manufacturer should have a GHS-compliant label affixed to the container.  Our requirement for that is simple—we are not permitted to remove or deface the label UNTIL the container is empty.

On the other hand, if we take some of that material and put it in another container for another use (such as making a dilution, a mixture, or some other reason), we should be sure that “secondary container” also has an appropriate label on it.

  1. First of all, don’t confuse the “secondary container” with the secondary CONTAINMENT that is used for hazardous waste accumulation.  Two different things!
  2. The secondary container needs to have AT LEAST the name of the material in it and some indication, either through words or symbols, of the hazard of the materials.

Ideally, this secondary container should have a GHS-compliant label as well.  And recently, EH&S has identified a way to do this. If you have a routine process where a secondary container is used, you can contact me at, and provide me with the MSDS (or multiple ones for mixtures) and I will prepare and provide you with compliant, chemically-resistant labels for your items.