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Safety Phrases (S-phrases)

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Definition

Prior to May 31, 2015, the European Union (EU) required that safety phrases (S-phrases) appear on each label and Safety Data Sheet for hazardous chemicals. S-phrases consisted of the letter S followed by a number. The precise meaning of each of these appears in the table below. These are now obsolete (see Additional Info).

Risk phrases (R-phrases) to denote the risks of the material were also part of the same requirements and are also obsolete.

Additional Info

S-phrases were used to specify special handling requirements of the material whereas the other label elements such as symbols or pictograms (see CHIP) only indicated broad classes of hazards.

While an improvement over simple pictograms, R- and S- phrases were still not specific enough, so they were phased out in favor of the much more comprehensive Hazard Statements and Precautionary Statements under the EU's implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) per EU Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 (6.6 MB PDF file).

More than one S-phrase could appear on a label or SDS, and they could also appear in combination, such as S1/2 which corrsponds to "Keep locked up" and "keep out of reach of children". In the first table below, single phrases are given, and in the second table, combinations are given. In general, no more than four S-phrases were be sufficient to adequately communicate the safety precautions for a particular material.

Single Safety Phrases
S1 Keep locked up.
S2 Keep out of the reach of children.
S3 Keep in a cool place.
S4 Keep away from living quarters.
S5 Keep contents under ... (appropriate liquid to be specified by the manufacturer).
S6 Keep under ... (inert gas to be specified by the manufacturer).
S7 Keep container tightly closed.
S8 Keep container dry.
S9 Keep container in a well-ventilated place.
S12 Do not keep container sealed.
S13 Keep away from food, drink and animal feeding stuffs.
S14 Keep away from ... (incompatible materials to be indicated by the manufacturer).
S15 Keep away from heat.
S16 Keep away from sources of ignition - No smoking.
S17 Keep away from combustible material.
S18 Handle and open container with care.
S20 When using do not eat or drink.
S21 When using do not smoke.
S22 Do not breathe dust .
S23 Do not breathe gas/fumes/vapor/spray (appropriate wording to be specified by the manufacturer).
S24 Avoid contact with skin.
S25 Avoid contact with eyes.
S26 In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice.
S27 Take off immediately all contaminated clothing.
S28 After contact with skin, wash immediately with plenty of ... (to be specified by the manufacturer).
S29 Do not empty into drains.
S30 Never add water to this product.
S33 Take precautionary measures against static discharges.
S34 Avoid shock and friction. No longer used.
S35 This material and its container must be disposed of in a safe way.
S36 Wear suitable protective clothing.
S37 Wear suitable gloves.
S38 In case of insufficient ventilation, wear suitable respiratory equipment.
S39 Wear eye/face protection.
S40 To clean the floor and all objects contaminated by this material, use ... (to be specified by the manufacturer).
S41 In case of fire and/or explosion, do not breathe fumes.
S42 During fumigation/spraying, wear suitable respiratory equipment (appropriate wording to be specified by the manufacturer).
S43 In case of fire, use ... (indicate in the space the precise type of fire-fighting equipment. If water increases the risk, add - Never use water).
S44 If you feel unwell, seek medical advice (show the label where possible). No longer used.
S45 In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show the label where possible).
S46 If swallowed, seek medical advice immediately and show this container or label.
S47 Keep at temperature not exceeding ...°C (to be specified by the manufacturer).
S48 Keep wetted with ... (appropriate material to be specified by the manufacturer).
S49 Keep only in the original container.
S50 Do not mix with ... (to be specified by the manufacturer).
S51 Use only in well-ventilated areas.
S52 Not recommended for interior use on large surface areas.
S53 Avoid exposure - obtain special instructions before use.
S54 Obtain the consent of pollution control authorities before discharging to wastewater treatment plants. No longer used.
S55 Treat using the best available techniques before discharge into drains or the aquatic environment. No longer used.
S56 Dispose of this material and its container at hazardous or special waste collection point.
S57 Use appropriate container to avoid environmental contamination.
S58 To be disposed of as hazardous waste. No longer used.
S59 Refer to manufacturer/supplier for information on recovery/recycling.
S60 This material and its container must be disposed of as hazardous waste.
S61 Avoid release to the environment. Refer to special instructions/Safety data sheets.
S62 If swallowed do not induce vomiting: seek medical advice immediately and show this container or label.

Multiple Safety Phrases
S1/2 Keep locked up and out of reach of children.
S3/7 Keep container tightly closed in a cool place.
S3/9 Keep in a cool, well-ventilated place. No longer used.
S3/7/9 Keep container tightly closed in a cool, well-ventilated place. No longer used.
S3/9/14 Keep in a cool, well-ventilated place away from ... (incompatible materials to be indicated by the manufacturer).
S3/9/49 Keep only in the original container in a cool, well-ventilated place.
S3/9/14/49 Keep only in the original container in a cool, well-ventilated place away from ... (incompatible materials to be indicated by the manufacturer).
S3/14 Keep in a cool place away from ... (incompatible materials to be indicated by the manufacturer).
S7/8 Keep container tightly closed and dry.
S7/9 Keep container tightly closed and in a well-ventilated place.
S20/21 When using do not eat, drink or smoke.
S24/25 Avoid contact with skin and eyes.
S36/37 Wear suitable protective clothing and gloves.
S36/39 Wear suitable protective clothing and eye/face protection.
S37/39 Wear suitable gloves and eye/face protection.
S36/37/39 Wear suitable protective clothing, gloves and eye/face protection.
S47/49 Keep only in the original container at temperature not exceeding ...°C (to be specified by the manufacturer).
S3/7 Keep container tightly closed in a cool place.
S7/47 Keep container tightly closed and at a temperature not exceeding ...°C (to be specified by the manufacturer).
S29/56 Do not empty into drains, dispose of this material and its container at hazardous or special waste collection point.

SDS Relevance

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Safety phrases were never required on labels or Safety Data Sheet by U.S. OSHA, however, they were required in the European Community. As safety phrases were formally phased out in 2015, they are generally only seen on older (and obsolete) SDS's. If your current sheet has R- and S-phrases instead of H-statements you should contact the manufacturer to get an updated sheet.

Remember that safety phrases only indicated the safety precautions that you need to follow. For information about the risks see the risk phrases entry.

Further Reading

See also: ANSI, CHIP, Precautionary Statements, risk phrases and the International Section of the MSDS FAQ.

Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.



Entry last updated: Friday, October 2, 2020. This page is copyright 2000-2021 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.

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