Science Safety Signs Sabina Rafay


Science has many signs that indicate how to handle certain types of chemicals at home and at workplaces. These signs include Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and Household Hazardous Product Symbols which are immensely important for protection and successful chemicals experiments.


(Workplace Hazardous Material Information System)

What Is WHMIS?

WHMIS is Canada's national workplace communication mandatory standard and it was established in October 31, 1988. The purpose of WHMIS is to support the safe use of potentially dangerous materials in the workplace.

Science Symbols

CLASS A Compressed Gas


Compressed gas is gas which is placed under pressure and contained usually in a cylindrical form. Compressed gas is very dangerous because if the cylindrical form is broken, it will explode and is a danger to anyone that close to it. As well, if the compressed gas, is heated the gas will expand and it will explode. Leakages are also very harmful because when gas comes out it is very chilly and if touched it will cause frostbite. Examples for types of compressed gas are carbon dioxide, propane and welding gas.

Safety Protocols

  1. To utilize compressed gas it has to be settled in a ventilated area.
  2. Do not drag, roll, bang or drop the cylinders.
  3. Position of cylinder has to be an a upright position, often a chain is used to secure it.
  4. Wearing protective equipment is required such as goggles and gloves.
  5. Practiced emergency procedures is mandatory such as first aid procedures.
  6. Do not heat, puncture or burn the container.

CLASS B Flammable and Combustible Material

Flammable means that the material will burn or catch on fire easily at normal temperatures like below 37.8 degrees. Combustive materials such as oil, fuel and magnesium have to be heated before they harmfully get caught on fire in the temperature of 37.8 degrees and higher.

Flammable materials are dangerous if they start to burn because of the contact of water and air which produces flammable gas, as the material is in the form of a liquid, gas or solid. Examples include acetone and butane.

Safety Protocols

  1. Environment has to be an a air-conditioned area.
  2. Keep containers closed when not in use.
  3. Keep area very clean.
  4. Eliminate heat sources such as sparks open flames and hot surfaces.
  5. Report leaks and spills.
  6. Do Not use compressed air to clean equipment.

CLASS C Oxidizing Materials

Oxidants are chemicals that don't burn themselves but it helps fires that need more oxygen or cause materials that don't burn but suddenly catch on fire (combustion). Materials are usually catch on fire if an oxidizer is present; oxides are formed in gas (oxygen,ozone) liquids (nitric acid, acid solutions) and solids (potassium permanganate, sodium chlorite). Some oxidizers are very dangerous because they have very strong reactions such as explosions.

Safety Protocols

  1. Keep containers clean.
  2. Eliminate any heat sources.
  3. Avoid contamination.
  4. Do Not Attempt to open the container if it is looking different.
  5. Never reuse containers.
  6. Never return containers.

CLASS D-1 Poisonous and Infectious Material (material causing immediate and serious effects)

These types of materials are very dangerous and harmful to us. Health effects include burns, unconsciousness, coma and death within minutes or hours, also causing long-term effects. Some examples of the D-1 materials are carbon monoxide, sulfuric acid.

Safety Protocols

  1. Keep materials away from food and drinks.
  2. Often wash hands.
  3. Report any symptoms.
  4. Get medical attention for all exposers.
  5. Do Not Work alone with toxic materials.

CLASS D-2 Poisonous and Infectious Material (material causing other toxic effects) has long term effects such as cancer reproductive problems and irritation. Division 2 has 2 subtopics;

1= D2a which is very toxic is shown case to reproductive cells like embryotoxic teratogenic and mutagenic. 2=D2b covers mutagenic which is non-productive system and these effects include eye/skin irritation. Examples include mercury and acetone.

Safety Protocols

1. (Same as all instructions in D-1)

CLASS D-3 Poisonous and Infectious Material (Biohazardous Infectious Material)

This material includes organisms or toxins that cause diseases such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. These organisms can enter the body tissues and fluids which can become toxic. Biohazardous materials are usually founded in hospitals, laboratories veterinary practice and research facilities. Biohazardous infections examples include AIDS/HIV virus and hepatitis B.

Safety Protocols

  1. Avoid contact with the materials.
  2. Blood or body fluid can be infectious.
  3. Be cautions with sharp edges to avoid diseases.
  4. Cover existing cuts or bruises with bandages or gloves.
  5. Wash hands very frequently or sanitize often
  6. Avoid contact with hand to the face region.

CLASS E Corrosive Material

Corrosive materials are materials that can cause severe permantant burns to skin such as the eyes and lungs. These types of corrosive materials include acids, sulphuric, nitric acids, hydroxide and chlorine.

Safety Protocols

  1. Use corrosion resistant tools and requirements.
  2. Work in a ventilated area.
  3. Report leaks or spills to teacher.
  4. Never add water to a corrosive product.
  5. Never reuse the same containers.
  6. Knowledge of emergencies such as first aid is recommended.

CLASS F Dangerously Reactive Material

This material is very reactive, and there are 3 different types of reactions. The first reaction can react strongly and quickly with water that makes toxic gas. Secondly it will react with itself when it gets shocked.

Safety Protocols

  1. Very high end sciences labs are required to have specialized training with these materials.

Why is WHMIS Important?

  • Protection of all workers.
  • Education about dangerous chemicals (gives workers knowledge and information that they can understand and apply.)
  • Universal symbols.
  • WHMIS has important safety guidelines and precautions.
  • All workers require training in WHMIS in order to work with hazardous chemicals.
  • Possess rights of knowing the nature of chemicals and safety instructions on how to work with them.

Consequences for Not Having WHMIS

  • Workers are unaware of how to work with hazardous chemicals.
  • Results in injuries and health problems (long-term and short-term such as asbestos which is a mineral that can cause cancer if exposed to it for long periods of time.
  • Workers are unaware on how to handle dangerous chemicals in certain environment. An example is compressed gas has to be an ventilated/cool area instead of a hot environment.

HHPS (Household Hazardous Product Symbols)

What Is It?

HHPS are found on many household cleaners. The purpose is to alert the consumer of the potential hazards of the household product (such as toxic, flammable and corrosive.) These symbols are different from WHMIS because there are only 2 major signs which indicate the dangers of the products.

HHPS Safety Signs

This sign indicates caution which is a temporary injury and it is to be dealt with urgently if occurred.
The diamond shape represents danger which can cause temporary or permeant injury or death.
This octagon is the most extreme hazard because of the high risk of a quick death or life long injury.


Poisonous chemical products are extremely dangerous which is represented in a octagon. It will cause illness and death. Some products include furniture product and windshield polisher fluid.


Most flammable products are very life threatening, resulting to catch fire easily where heat flames or sparks occur. Examples include hairspray and gasoline.


Explosive materials are founded on a cautions triangle sign. However, it can explode if heated, which make into small pieces of metal that can go potentially into the eye region area.Examples include anything that has aerosol products.


This sign is tremendously dangerous and can cause severe burns if any skin is contacted. Some products are toilet bowl cleaners, and oven cleaners.

an example of a product that has instructions if a situation occurs.

Why Is HHPS Important?

  • Created for products intended to use at home.
  • Provide consumers information such as hazardous and necessary precautions.
  • HHPS has a bigger target audience (house products intended for families.)
  • Gives vital information in potential emergencies (such as a toddler drinking bleach- poisonous.)

Consequences For Not Having HHPS

  • Families will be unaware of common everyday household products that are hazardous. (air freshener)
  • HHPS minimizes contact with the consumer.
  • Informed decisions on use and storage of product.
  • Not having HHPS will increase potential health hazards.

Lab Safety Protocols

  • Report incidents to your teacher asap
  • Keep pathway clear
  • Long hair must be tied back
  • Do not taste or smell chemicals (instead, waft it)
  • Wear safety goggles
  • Leave workplace station clean
  • No sitting eating or drinking in the lab
  • Always prepare for the experiment by doing the reading before you start doing work
  • Never Keep lab bench unattended

How does the curriculum prevent serious injuries?

  • Course introduces to grade 9 students basic knowledge on lab safety and experiments
  • Provides knowledge on how to identify WHMIS HHPS, Lab safety protocols and SDS.
  • The use of the symbols keeps students aware of the dangerous consequences on working with these products and keeps them aware on safely handling them.
  • Students are able to apply the knowledge learned in the lab safety units (WHMIS, HHPS and SDS) in experiments.
  • Students are able to make connections in the real word (HHPS and WHMIS) for future references (working in labs researches, construction).

SDS (Safety Data Sheets)

What is SDS?

  • Stands for safety data sheets
  • Includes specific detailed information on the hazardous product(First-aid measures, manufacture name and address)
  • Workers should be familiar with SDS before use of product to understand safe handling and what to do incase of an emergency
  • Follows the 16 section format and in both english and french
  • Has to be updated every 3 years

All 16 Sections Required

An example of Safety Data Sheets is for sanitizer and cleaning products .

Handling and Storage

- Is found in section 7, 5 (Firefighting measures) 8 (exposure and personal protection) and 10 ( stability and reactivity).

Section 7 (Handling and Storage)

- Nesscarary precautions

- Equipment required

- All procedures need to be planned.

Section 5 (firefighter measures)

- Potential fire hazards needs appropriate type of fire extinguishers

- Plan the best for any fire situations.

- Storage such as flammable liquids are very important because it has to be in a special facility away from certain chemicals.

Section 8 (exposure and personal protection)

- Health and safety guidelines

- Respiratory protection

- Skin protection includes gloves, boots and aprons

- Eye protection needing goggles, face shields and safety goggles

-Engineering control system reduces potential hazards by removing it in the work environment such as using exhausts and ventilation. The Engineering control system is important because the purpose is to improve the work process by reducing danger automatically.

Section 10 (stability and reactivity)

- Materials that are unattainable or hard to control as they decompose which can cause fires or explosions.

- Sunlight and heat have a factor that can cause explosions or unattainability of a break down.

- Some materials that don't go together can react violently if mixed, where then it should be stored separately.

Why is SDS important?

  • Contains all the information needed in case of an emergency
  • Includes safe handling and storage instructions
  • Detailed first aid measures and manufacturer contact information
  • Keeps workers informed on how to work with the product for example MSDS will inform workers the health effects of the product, prevented measures, and proper disposal.

Consequences Of Not Having SDS

  • Workers will not be able to find the information that is needed
  • SDS provides an easy to read format written in a clear manner
  • Workers will not be able to:
  • Identify the product
  • Know the hazards on working with the product
  • Prevent dangerous situations
  • Respond to various situations( fire hazards and first aid)



Created with images by Colin Browne - "Green science" • Republica - "flasks erlenmeyer chemistry" • Francisco Javier Argel - "Biohazard" • yourbestdigs - "Window cleaners in a group" • PublicDomainPictures - "experiment chemistry liquid" • The Puzzler - "Rocket Science" • WikiImages - "horsehead nebula dark nebula constellation"

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