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NFPA Sign and Chemical Hazard Codes


Publication 13923

Price: FREE

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a professional firefighters organization that works to prevent the loss of life and property from fire. NFPA has developed regulations, guidelines and procedures to prevent fires, protect individuals during fires, reduce losses due to fires and how to respond to emergency situations. NFPA has developed a standard system, called the NFPA chemical hazard codes, for classifying the health, flammability and reactivity hazards of chemicals during an emergency situation. A standard label called the NFPA chemical hazard label has also been developed to be used by chemical manufacturers.
This system of identifying hazards associated with various chemicals was developed primarily for fire protection and emergency personnel. As stated in NFPA Code #704, “This standard provides a simple system of readily recognizable and easily understood markings, which will give, at a glance, a general idea of the inherent hazards of any materials and the order of severity of these hazards as they relate to fire prevention, exposure, and control.” The NFPA chemical hazard codes and label are not intended as a guide for workplace exposure or for relative indices of toxicity.
The NFPA chemical hazard label is a multicolored, 4-part diamond as shown in Figure 1. The four parts of the diamond are each color-coded and represent a particular hazard—health (blue), flammability (red), and reactivity (yellow). The bottom part of the diamond is left blank for special hazards such as water-reactive materials or strong oxidizers. The NPFA hazard code uses a 0–4 rating system where 0 is no unusual hazard and 4 is danger. A more specific explanation for each hazard is outlined below.
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