My experience is that California fire prevention and hazardous waste inspectors require clarity on chemical labels such that they communicate hazards to both the inspectors and potential responders; let alone building and lab occupants. Labeling in abbreviations, acronyms, or lab jargon do not meet this requirement. Labels with chemical names matching the MSDS and pre-printed check-box hazard categories are preferred.
On the point of more than one meaning per acronym, the acronym geek web site lists over 500k acronyms... nearly all with multiple meanings. In the military world acronyms are ubiquitous; sometimes seemingly used to reduce rather than improve clarity. Recent discussions with military personnel revealed that some used acronyms without having ever known the meaning. They had simply picked up the idea of what was meant by the acronym from the context of former conversations and then passed the acronym along without inquiry. We would hope our students do not take this approach.
Michael N. Cooper MS, MPH, CIH
Senior Managing Scientist
Exponent / Failure Analysis Associates
149 Commonwealth Drive
Menlo Park, California 94025
office (650) 688-1760
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**list.uvm.edu] On Behalf Of Long, Don
Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 1:55 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations
Brings up another interesting point - labeling of containers. As one guy pointed out, everyone in his lab may know what "128" is, but are we labeling our containers IAW 29 CFR 1910.1200 (HazCom Standard)? The whole point of labeling containers is to convey possible hazards. If we use the same abbreviations that we are using in documents on our containers, are we maintaining the spirit and intent of the standard ?
Don A. Long
Southwest Research Institute Laboratory
Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility
PO Box 20130
White Hall, AR 71612
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU]On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations
Good point, Bradley. The firemen who inspected the lab recently wanted an NFPA fire diamond with "0,0,0" on the 600-gallon DI water tank, I can understand that. Of course they don't care about the DI wash bottles on the bench (although they did notice the one that was labeled HIV - for the lab section).
Our Chemical Hygiene Plan has a list of lab-specific acronyms and abbreviations right up front. But that still doesn't really solve that shorthand labeling problem we see from time to time. [But then everyone in the lab seems to know what a container that's labeled "128" is, right? (it's vesphene diluted down 1:128).] Thanks to this discussion string, I'll be creating reagent-specific label templates for things we make up all the time - like the profiled hazardous waste streams. It's a complex field folks. (Hope you don't mind that I used a few undefined acronyms.)
Chemistry Acronyms (14383)
NASA Acronyms (8940)
Uncategorized Acronyms (5754)
Atmospheric Research Center Acronyms (4622)
Text Language Acronyms And Abbreviations (1855)
Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM
Safety & Compliance Officer
Los Angeles County Public Health Lab
>>> Bradley Harris <harris626**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM> 4/2/2010 8:15 AM >>>
Using Abbreviations should be dependent on several items, including hazard levels, and the amount of chemical. For example, a small container with non hazardous chemicals used in a small laboratory could have an abbreviation. If there is a gallon, or 55 gallons of the same chemical the container should have a full label.
teaching abbreviations in school seems to undermine the information given from the full chemical name.
On Apr 1, 2010, at 9:20 PM, Alan Hall wrote:
> Use simple chemical formulas: NaCN, KCN, Ca2Cn2, etc, I won't argue: use abbreviations that might kill somebody, BAD idea.
> Whoever has to walk into a HAZMAT incident doesn't have time to look for a bunch of abbreviations. Lives may be on the line. The AHLS Course stresses some of that. Those who have not worn Level A or Level B might consider that others have and will continue to due so. Bad labels, some of us might be invoked, whether needed or not.
> Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 19:50:48 -0400
> From: JAKSAFETY**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM
> Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations
> To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
> One of the major problems is going to be distinguishing TLAs from FLAs. ... Jim
> James A. Kaufman, Ph.D.
> Kaufman & Associates
> 101 Oak Street, Wellesley, MA 02482
> 508-574-6264 Fax: 508-647-0062
> Res: 781-237-1335
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