15 Hazard Symbols: What Do They Mean


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Have you ever been inside a laboratory? Inside, you will notice different signs in almost every part of the room, whether it’s near chemical bottles or even at the basin. These symbols serve as a guide to provide cautions for your safety.

Hazard images are designed to tell you about the properties of a particular item. You can also use these indications to label bottles after you made a new solution to keep others informed. If you are interested to learn more about these hazard symbols, we will discuss below the most common signs you see around a lab. Keep on reading below to know more!

Flammable Hazard Sign

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This image is among those apparent signs. Chemicals labeled with this sign are deemed flammable and should be stored accordingly. Some laboratories have separate storage facilities for these chemicals since they should always be kept away from any oxidizing substances, flames, and even sparks. Also, it is essential to wear eye protection when you are working with highly flammable materials.

Oxidizing Agent Hazard Sign

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Oxidizing agents are used for removing an electron from another substrate – hence they are known to be involved in an oxidation-reduction reaction. As they usually transfer oxygen to another chemical substance, they can provide oxygen to flammable materials that can burn when used in the lab. This is the reason why they should always be stored separately from flammable substances.

Corrosive Agent Hazard Sign

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Corrosive agents are strong chemicals that can corrode into your skin or to any substances. Chemicals like sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide solutions are very corrosive that a single drop from these substances can cause severe eye damage. So it is essential that when you work with these substances, you should observe precautions and wear personal protective equipment.

Toxic Hazard Sign

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This sign indicates highly harmful chemical substances, which in extreme cases – can cause death if you inhale, swallow, or touch the substance.

Irritant Hazard Sign

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Substances that have this symbol can cause eye irritation and skin itchiness, redness, soreness, and blistering. So don’t mistake them for harmless chemicals as they can cause toxicity when inhaled or swallowed.

Health Hazard Sign

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Using chemicals that have this symbol can cause severe health damage, like:

  • reproductive toxicity, 
  • respiratory problems, 
  • germ cell mutagenicity, and 
  • carcinogenicity

So make sure that you use the appropriate PPE, such as face mask, eye protection, nitrile gloves, and a lab coat while working with such substances. Check all these protective equipment at www.linkhubs.com/

Environmental Hazard Sign

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This symbol means that you are using chemicals that are potentially dangerous to the environment. And if not properly disposed of, they can contaminate soil and water which can be lethal for marine animals and trees. Therefore, it is imperative to be careful in disposing of these substances.

Explosive Hazard Sign

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Explosive symbols are not usually seen in standard labs, but just the same, seeing this symbol means that the material can explode once it comes in contact with flame or heat.

Compressed Gas Hazard Sign

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Compressed gas can be commonly seen in most labs, such as CO2 cylinder containers or non-insulated tanks. Seeing this symbol means that the content can be toxic, oxidizing, flammable, and corrosive. This is the reason why stocks of compressed gas cylinders are usually stored separately from the main lab and are treated with caution.

Laser Hazard Sign

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This sign typically appears in places where you should get a fairly intensive safety introduction before you start working. Why? Lasers can harm the eyes and may cause serious injury. Thus you must be well protected before entering labs that have access to lasers.

Ionizing Radiation Hazard Sign

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This basic radiation tri-foil symbol means the area you are entering is exposed to radioactivity. Make sure you are fully briefed about all the safety measures and the kind of PPE you are required to wear to protect yourself before entering the lab premises.

High Voltage Hazard Sign

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High voltage sign is generally recognized as a warning against possible electric shock, so if you are not paying attention, then you are endangering yourself. 

Temperature Hazard Sign

The extremity of temperatures is also considered a lab hazard that must not be ignored.

  • Hot Warning

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Most labs have at least one induction cooker or electric plate for:

  • sterilizing small quantities of solutions or
  • making a supersaturated solution if you are having a hard time dissolving something

Some of these hotplates can be as high as 450°C, so be careful, or you will give yourself a nasty burn.

  • Cold Warning

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On the other hand, it is also essential to understand the safety measures associated with freezing temperatures. Freezers in the lab tend to reach -80°C, so you should wear special cold-resistant PPE to avoid frostbite.

Biohazard Sign

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This image can be seen on doors, making you aware that you are getting in an area that uses biological material. You can also notice this sign placed on trash cans in the lab that indicates discarded waste is associated with live organisms. So be sure to protect yourself and avoid any direct contact with the live microorganisms.    

Take Away

Safety signs and symbols are crucial in laboratories as they indicate different hazards present around the area. Moreover, these safety communicating tools relay warnings to workers to be vigilant and keep watching out for those hazards by providing necessary information and instructions for safety.


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