hazard warning diamonds, hazard warning diamond labels

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The Regulations

Packaged dangerous goods are transported across borders all over the world: hazardous chemicals shipped by sea in China may be re-loaded onto trains in Germany and transferred to trucks in France which are destined for the UK. For this reason, it was internationally agreed that safety standards must apply globally, and in order to uniform standards, reduce formalities, and facilitate transition from one mode of transport to another, a committee of experts was set up at the United Nations.

Their recommendations on the transport of dangerous goods were published in, what’s come to be known as, ‘The Orange Book’ and this consists of the ‘Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods’ which covers many aspects including classification, transport documentation, marking, labelling and placarding.

Though not directly legally binding, these recommendations are addressed to governments and international organisations, such as IATA (Air), IMDG (Sea), ADR (Road) and RID (Rail) which are responsible for the regulations and legislation that ensure the safe transport of dangerous goods across different countries. The latest changes to warning diamonds stem from the amendments agreed in the 18th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations, and these were adopted and incorporated into the revisions of IATA, IMDG and ADR legislation.

Hazard warning diamond Specifications

Every hazard warning diamond for packages must conform to the following specifications:

  • Each label, whether printed on, or affixed to a package, must be durable and weather resistant. A label on a package must be able to withstand, without deterioration or a substantial change in color, a 30-day exposure to conditions that reasonably could be expected to be encountered by the labelled package

  • The label shall be in the form of a square, at an angle of 45° (diamond shape)

  • Minimum dimensions must be 100x100mm

  • The inner border line forming the diamond must be at least 1mm thick

  • The line inside the edge must be parallel and 5mm from the outside of that line to the edge of the label

  • The class number should be no less than 12mm in height
  • The label should show a dotted outer boundary line (unless it is being applied on a background of contrasting colour)

Smaller Packages

class 3 label with thin border imageclass 3 label with thick border image

If the size of the package so requires, the dimensions of the label may be reduced – provided the symbol and other elements of the label remain clearly visible.

If a reduced size label is used, the border line must remain at least 1mm thick and also remain 5mm inside the outer edge of the label.

There is no specification for the inner border line width of 250mm placards, but it must be in approximate proportion to that shown in ADR (figure which would give the inner border line a thickness of around 2mm.  As the UN Model Regulations did not specify a minimum inner border line width for placards, neither has the IMDG Code, IATA or ADR.

There is also no specification for the thickness of the outer broken border line which is required when a label is placed on a non contrasting background.

Are the Warning Diamonds on your Packages in Compliance?

If you regularly use warning diamonds on your packages, you will need to ensure that they are in accordance with the latest dangerous goods regulations.

Please contact us if you need further advice.  Hibiscus has been providing specialist labels and software for the chemical industry for over 40 years.

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