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Systems Of Fire Hazard Identification – Are You Aware Of Them?

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Can you recognize a fire hazard risk? Systems of fire hazard identification are for people like you and me, who have no degree in fire fighting. There are symbols known as “hazard diamonds” drawn on vehicles, chemical bottles, storage tanks, and other fire prone areas for caution. The symbols have been designed by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), under section 704 of the National Fire Code. This is the worldwide identification system of fire hazard.

Hazard Diamonds

The symbols are diamond-shaped and the identification signal for fire hazard is coded in four letters or letters in colors red, blue, and yellow. All the symbols make use of a numbering scale that ranges from 0 to 4. The number 1 depicts health, 2 indicate flammability, and 3 imply reactivity. Zero implies that the material is free from any hazard. The number 4 shows extreme danger. The highest value is colored white. It is a variable value, which may mean anything, on the basis of the numbers or letters written there.

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) has ordered that all the chemicals present at the workplace be labeled with appropriate warning signs of hazard diamonds.

The Hazardous Material Identification Guide (HMIG)

Lab Safety Supply Inc. has developed a labeling system called Hazardous Material Identification Guide (HMIG). Then there is also the Hazardous Material Information System (HMIS) developed by the National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA). It is sold through Labelmaster Inc. Both HMIG and HMIS use a label consisting of four color bars. There is some space on the top for the name of the chemical. The color indicators and the rating from 0-4 are the same as those in hazard diamonds.

The HMIG system of fire hazard identification has a fourth bar in white, which is marked with the words “protective equipment” while in HMIS system, the fourth bar indicates “personal protection”. Both the systems inscribe a letter on this bar to represent the type of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used for handling the material safely. They use the letters A – K and X. The letters have the same meaning in both the systems. HMIG as well as HMIS supplement the letters with icons or pictograms presenting the types of PPE that has to be used.

The Hybrid System

The introductory chemistry labs of the University of Oregon make use of a “hybrid system” for labeling materials. The NFPA diamond is there, but the white bar is marked with a letter taken from the HMIG system. There are posters placed at several spots in the lab. They provide a complete explanation of the PPE symbols used.

Hope, now that you have the symbols in mind, you are aware of the systems of fire hazard identification!