Hazardous Materials Identification System/HMIS Documentation

Hazardous Materials Identification System or HMIS are four bars of the color-coded labels. They are:

Blue (Health)

  • 4. Life-threatening, major or permanent damage may result from single or repeated overexposures.
  • 3. A major injury is likely unless prompt action is taken and medical treatment is given.
  • 2. A temporary or minor injury may occur.
  • 1. Irritation or minor reversible injury possible.
  • 0. No significant risk to health.

Red (Flammability)

  • 4. Flammable gases, or very volatile flammable liquids with flash points below 73 °F (23 °C), and boiling points below 100 °F (38 °C). Materials may ignite spontaneously with air.
  • 3. Materials that are capable of ignition under almost all normal temperature conditions. Includes flammable liquids with flash points below 73 °F (23 °C) and boiling points above 100 °F (38 °C), as well as liquids with flashpoints between 73 °F and 100 °F.
  • 2. Materials that must be moderately heated or exposed to high ambient temperatures before ignition will occur. Includes liquids having a flashpoint at or above 100 °F (38 °C) but below 200 °F (93 °C).
  • 1. Materials that must be preheated before ignition will occur. Includes liquids, solids, and semi-solids having a flashpoint above 200 °F (93 °C).

Yellow/Orange (Reactivity/Physical Hazard)

  • 4. Materials that are readily capable of explosive water reaction, detonation or explosive decomposition, polymerization, or self-reaction at normal temperature and pressure.
  • 3. Materials that may form explosive mixtures with water and are capable of detonation or explosive reaction in the presence of a strong initiating source. Materials may polymerize, decompose, self-react, or undergo other chemical change at normal temperature and pressure with a moderate risk of explosion.
  • 2. Materials that are unstable and may undergo violent chemical changes at normal temperature and pressure with low risk for explosion. Materials may react violently with water or form peroxides upon exposure to air.
  • 1. Materials that are normally stable but can become unstable (self-react) at high temperatures and pressures. Materials may react non-violently with water or undergo hazardous polymerization in the absence of inhibitors
  • 0. Materials that are normally stable, even under fire conditions, and will not react with water, polymerize, decompose, condense, or self-react. Non-explosives

White (Personal Protection)

HMIS uses the white section to indicate which personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used when working with the material. This section is a little bit different because it uses letter codes instead of a number. I found a reoccurring graphic on the MSDS’ that I really liked:
Taken from LiquidIceCoolant.com

Here is what the typical label looks like:

You can find more information about HMIS at the official OSHA webpage and OSHA Briefing.

An important note:
As of 2015, Henkel no longer provides the HMIS/NFPA ratings for North American products. This decision was made out of the concern that if both rating systems were used simultaneously, workers could be confused by the two opposing ratings and handle chemicals improperly.