Promoting Proper Hygiene Practices in the Lab.

The CEO of a Biotech company was in a hurry to catch a flight after work.  He left his office, stopped by the restroom and washed his hands and then left the building for the airport which was five minutes away.  He arrived at the airport and as he went through the security check a hazardous material was detected on his hands.  After being questioned by airport security it was determined that the CEO had picked up traces of chemicals from a contaminated door handle back at his work place.  Luckily the issue was sorted out quickly and the CEO didn’t miss his flight, but when he came back to work after his trip he created some new policies regarding proper hygiene practices for lab workers as well as new cleaning procedures for the janitorial department.  This scenario is an example of the importance of proper hygiene practices in the lab.

One of our top selling lab safety labels is a very simple label that reads “NO GLOVES ON DOOR HANDLES”.  This label along with a good lab hygiene plan minimizes the risk of contamination and situations like our airport story.  When people are busy at work it is easy for them to forget proper hygiene practices or to justify not using them.  It’s easy to say “I’m just going to another lab where I will need gloves.  So, why take my gloves off before leaving this lab?” Proper training will explain the reason why the gloves cannot touch the door handles and our labels will act as a reminder for people busy at work.

We have a variety of these type of labels that help environmental health and safety specialists to enforce proper hygiene practices such as hand washing, glove disposal, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements, housekeeping practices, etc…  You can find it all on our website under our Lab Safety products category  . Browse our selection and if you don’t see exactly what you need, we will be happy to make a sign or label according to your specifications.


GHS, Schmee-H-S…Part 3

What Do Those Other Little Weird Pictures Mean?

Exclamation Point


This is one of the less obvious pictogram symbols. It looks as if it might just be calling your attention to a hazard. And in a way that’s true. This symbol is saying, “This substance is harmful, but not life-threatening.” It is used with statements like “Harmful if swallowed/inhaled/in contact with skin” (but not fatal or toxic) or “Causes skin irritation” (but not chemical burns) or “Causes serious eye irritation” (but not immediate damage). It is also used for substances which may cause an allergic skin reaction or respiratory irritation, drowsiness, or dizziness.


Health Hazard

This one looks as if it might be warning you of a heart attack. In fact, it is warning you of hidden or invisible effects. It’s called the Health Hazard pictorial, and it is used mostly for serious chronic effects, with statements like “May cause genetic defects”, or “May cause cancer”, or “May damage fertility or the unborn child.” It is also used for severe internal effects, like “Causes damage to organs” (whether immediately or after prolonged or repeated exposure), or “May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways” (Aspiration Hazard), or “May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.”

Flame Over Circle


This symbol is, of course, familiar to all you chemists out there. For the rest of you, I will explain that it marks an oxidizer; in simple terms, a substance that releases or causes the release of oxygen and can thereby cause or intensify a fire or an explosion.







This one, which I think of as the “dead fish pictogram” simply warns of toxicity to aquatic life, whether immediate or long-term. Be careful not to allow this substance to be released to the environment.



All right! This concludes my tutorial on the Weird Little GHS Pictogram Symbols. Thanks for sticking with me this far – I hope this makes the new labels easier to understand.