From: Kent Candee <Kent.A.Candee**At_Symbol_Here**EMCINS.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] GHS and the news
Date: April 17, 2013 3:52:07 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <516EFC13.9060602**At_Symbol_Here**>

See below.  First post rejected due to signature attachment.

Kent A. Candee, CIH, ARM
Environmental Health Services Manager
EMC Insurance Companies
717 Mulberry St - E10S | Des Moines, IA 50309-3872
Tel: 515.345.2728 | Cell: 515.321.5874
Kent.A.Candee**At_Symbol_Here** |

On 4/17/2013 2:46 PM, Kent Candee wrote:


The sign was diamond shaped with a 4 in the fire hazard rating and a 1 in the health hazard rating.  One individual who was interviewed misspoke stating it was a 4 in the health hazard rating, assuming they did know the proper location on the diamond sign for the fire and health hazard ratings.

Prof. Finster is correct as he discusses GHS hazard categories being alphanumeric and inverted to the NFPA 704 system.  When I first learned of this, I shared a major concern.  I now am of the opinion my concern has been misplaced.  When you examine the GHS label system, it does not require hazard categories be reflected.  GHS label elements are product identifier, supplier identifier and information, signal word, pictograms, hazard statements, and precautionary statements.  The hazard and precautionary statements are linked to the hazard category.

Businesses and entities will have to examine if they were using the NFPA diamond as part of their label system on whether or not to continue to incorporate it along with the GHS label requirements or to forgo using it.  The original intent of the NFPA 704 system was to provide protection and knowledge to emergency response personnel.

Some regulatory standards or codes do require the NFPA diamond be posted for alerting emergency response personnel and in these cases compliance will be required.  Iowa is one such state.

Best wishes to all in their implementation of HazCom 2012.

Kent A.

On 4/17/2013 12:43 PM, David C. Finster wrote:



Welcome to the world of the GHS clashing with the NFPA.  This is an illustration of what we will all experience for a long period of time to come:  the “inverted” nature of the NFPA and GSH rating systems.  The episode below almost certainly refers to an NFPA fire rating of 4 – the highest (most dangerous) level in their 0-4 rating system.


As we are coming to learn about the GHS, their rating system has “1” as the most hazardous rating, and larger numbers are less hazardous.  But, the system will have different “end point values” for the most hazardous category for different kinds of hazards.  Thus, Flammable Gases will be 1-2, but Acute Toxicity is 1-5.  Reproductive Toxicity is 1A, 1B, and 2.  And Organic Peroxides are A-G.  Wow.


This is all explained at:  and nicely synopsized in one of my favorite books (!) in Table on page 3-27 in “Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students,”  Hill and Finster, Wiley, 2010.  




David C. Finster
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Wittenberg University


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Debbie M. Decker
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:48 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] GHS and the news


Here’s a tidbit from today’s “Chemical Safety Headlines from Google:”




Tags: us_AZ, industrial, explosion, response, aerosol



A shipping container caught fire at a distributing company near Grande Avenue and McDowell Road on Sunday night.


According to Phoenix Fire Department, minor explosions occurred after a Conex box outside Star Distributing Company caught fire.


A Conex box is a sturdy container commonly used on trains and at some businesses.


Placards on the outside of the box read that whatever was inside had a level four hazardous threat, the highest level possible.


Crews were able to quickly contain the fire. They used saws to cut holes into the box and found it was full of aerosol cans.


Phoenix Fire Cpt. Jonathan Jacobs says the fire caused the cans to heat up and explode.


The auto parts distributing company is located in a primarily industrial area and no homes were threatened.



From the images and news video on the website, it’s an NFPA placard.  Even news media are accustomed to the current NFPA placarding scheme.  It’ll be interesting if NFPA flips their numbering scheme.



Debbie M. Decker, CCHO

Safety Manager

Department of Chemistry

University of California, Davis

1 Shields Ave.

Davis, CA  95616





Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction

that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,

can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."











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