| NFPA 704 |
"NFPA 704: Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response" is a standard maintained by the U.S.-based National Fire Protection Association. First "tentatively adopted as a guide" in 1960,and revised several times since then, it defines the "Safety Square" or "Fire Diamond" which is used to quickly and easily identify the risks posed by hazardous materials. This helps determine what, if any, special equipment should be used, procedures followed, or precautions taken during the initial stages of an emergency response. It is an internationally accepted safety standard, and is crucial while transporting chemicals.
The four divisions are typically color-coded with red on top indicating flammability, blue on the left indicating level of health hazard, yellow on the right for chemical reactivity, and white containing codes for special hazards. Each of health, flammability and reactivity is rated on a scale from 0 (no hazard) to 4 (severe hazard). The latest version of NFPA 704 sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 for the specifications of each classification are listed below. The numeric values in the first column are designated in the standard by "Degree of Hazard" using Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4), not to be confused with other classification systems, such as that in the NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, where flammable and combustible liquid categories are designated by "Class", using Roman numerals (I, II, III).
|0||Materials that will not burn under typical fire conditions (e.g. carbon tetrachloride, silicon dioxide, perfluorohexane), including intrinsically noncombustible materials such as concrete, stone, and sand. Materials that will not burn in air unless exposed to a temperature of 820 °C (1,500 °F) for more than 5 minutes.|
|1||Materials that require considerable preheating, under all ambient temperature conditions, before ignition and combustion can occur (e.g. mineral oil, ammonia, ethylene glycol). Includes some finely divided suspended solids that do not require heating before ignition can occur. Flash point at or above 93.3 °C (200 °F).|
|2||Must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperature before ignition can occur (e.g. diesel fuel, paper, sulfur and multiple finely divided suspended solids that do not require heating before ignition can occur). Flash point between 37.8 and 93.3 °C (100 and 200 °F).|
|3||Liquids and solids (including finely divided suspended solids) that can be ignited under almost all ambient temperature conditions (e.g. acetone, ethanol). Liquids having a flash point below 22.8 °C (73 °F) and having a boiling point at or above 37.8 °C (100 °F) or having a flash point between 22.8 and 37.8 °C (73 and 100 °F).|
|4||Will rapidly or completely vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, or is readily dispersed in air and will burn readily (e.g. gasoline, acetylene, propane, hydrogen gas, diborane). Includes pyrophoric substances. Flash point below room temperature at 22.8 °C (73 °F).|
|0||Poses no health hazard, requires no precautions, and would offer no hazard beyond that of ordinary combustible materials (e.g. wood, sugar, salt, propylene glycol)|
|1||Exposure would cause irritation with only minor residual injury (e.g. acetone, sodium bromate, potassium chloride)|
|2||Intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury (e.g. diethyl ether, ammonium phosphate, carbon dioxide, chloroform, DEET).|
|3||Short exposure could cause serious temporary or moderate residual injury (e.g. liquid hydrogen, sulfuric acid, calcium hypochlorite, carbon monoxide, hexafluorosilicic acid, zinc chloride, sodium hydroxide)|
|4||Very short exposure could cause death or major residual injury (e.g. hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, diborane, methyl isocyanate, hydrofluoric acid)|
|0||Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water (e.g. helium, N2, carbon dioxide)|
|1||Normally stable, but can become unstable at elevated temperatures and pressures (e.g. propene, ammonium acetate, carbonic acid)|
|2||Undergoes violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures, reacts violently with water, or may form explosive mixtures with water (e.g. white phosphorus, potassium, sodium)|
|3||Capable of detonation or explosive decomposition but requires a strong initiating source, must be heated under confinement before initiation, reacts explosively with water, or will detonate if severely shocked (e.g. ammonium nitrate, caesium, hydrogen peroxide)|
|4||Readily capable of detonation or explosive decomposition at normal temperatures and pressures (e.g. nitroglycerin, chlorine dioxide, nitrogen triiodide, manganese heptoxide, TNT, Picric acid)|
|Special notice (white)|
|The white "special notice" area can contain several symbols. The following symbols are defined by the NFPA 704 standard.|
|OX||Oxidizer, allows chemicals to burn without an air supply (e.g. potassium perchlorate, ammonium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide).|
|Reacts with water in an unusual or dangerous manner (e.g. caesium, sodium, diborane, sulfuric acid).|
|SA||Simple asphyxiant gas (specifically helium, nitrogen, neon, argon, krypton, xenon). The SA symbol shall also be used for liquified carbon dioxide vapor withdrawal systems and where large quantities of dry ice are used in confined areas.|
|Non-standard symbols (white)|
|These hazard codes are not part of the NFPA 704 standard, but are occasionally used in an unofficial manner. The use of non-standard codes may be permitted, required or disallowed by the authority having jurisdiction (e.g. fire department).|
|COR||Corrosive; strong acid or base (e.g. sulfuric acid, potassium hydroxide)|
|ACID||Acid or alkaline, to be more specific|
|BIO||Biological hazard (e.g. flu virus, rabies virus)|
|POI||Poisonous (e.g. strychnine, alpha-amanitin)|
|RA||Radioactive (e.g. plutonium, cobalt-60, carbon-14)|
|CRY||Cryogenic (e.g. liquid nitrogen)|
The development of NFPA 704 is credited to the Charlotte Fire Department after a fire at the Charlotte Chemical Company in 1959 led to severe injuries to many of the firefighters.Upon arrival, the fire crew found a fire burning inside a vat that firefighters assumed to be burning kerosene. The crew tried to suppress the fire, which resulted in the vat exploding due to metallic sodium being stored in the kerosene. Thirteen firefighters were injured, including several of whom had critical injuries and one who lost both ears and most of his face from the incident.
At the time, such vats were not labelled with the materials they contained, so firefighters did not have the necessary information to recognize that hazardous materials were present, which required a specific response. In this case, sodium was able to react with water to release hydrogen gas and large amounts of heat, which has the potential to explode.
The Charlotte Fire Department developed training to respond to fires involving hazardous materials, ensured that protective clothing was available to those responding, and expanded the fire prevention inspection program. Fire Marshal J. F. Morris developed the diamond shaped placard as a marking system to indicate when a building contained hazardous materials, with their levels of flammability, reactivity and health effects.
A safety data sheet (SDS), material safety data sheet (MSDS), or product safety data sheet (PSDS) is a document that lists information relating to occupational safety and health for the use of various substances and products. SDSs are a widely used system for cataloguing information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. SDS information may include instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a particular material or product, along with spill-handling procedures. The older MSDS formats could vary from source to source within a country depending on national requirements; however, the newer SDS format is internationally standardized.
Hazard symbols or warning symbols are recognisable symbols designed to warn about hazardous or dangerous materials, locations, or objects, including electromagnetic fields, electric currents; harsh, toxic or unstable chemicals ; and radioactivity. The use of hazard symbols is often regulated by law and directed by standards organizations. Hazard symbols may appear with different colors, backgrounds, borders, and supplemental information in order to specify the type of hazard and the level of threat. Warning symbols are used in many places in lieu of or addition to written warnings as they are quickly recognized and more commonly understood.
Fire safety is the set of practices intended to reduce destruction caused by fire. Fire safety measures include those that are intended to prevent the ignition of an uncontrolled fire and those that are used to limit the spread and impact of a fire.
Process Safety Managementof Highly Hazardous Chemicals is a regulation promulgated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It defines and regulates a process safety management (PSM) program for plants using, storing, manufacturing, handling or carrying out on-site movement of hazardous materials above defined amount thresholds. Companies affected by the regulation usually build a compliant process safety management system and integrate it in their safety management system. Non-U.S. companies frequently choose on a voluntary basis to use the OSHA scheme in their business.
Dangerous goods, abbreviated DG, are substances that when transported are a risk to health, safety, property or the environment. Certain dangerous goods that pose risks even when not being transported are known as hazardous materials. An example for dangerous goods is hazardous waste which is waste that has substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment.
Firefighting jargon includes a diverse lexicon of both common and idiosyncratic terms. One problem that exists in trying to create a list such as this is that much of the terminology used by a particular department is specifically defined in their particular standing operating procedures, such that two departments may have completely different terms for the same thing. For example, depending on whom one asks, a safety team may be referred to as a standby, a RIT or RIG or RIC, or a FAST. Furthermore, a department may change a definition within its SOP, such that one year it may be RIT, and the next RIG or RIC.
In electrical and safety engineering, hazardous locations are places where fire or explosion hazards may exist. Sources of such hazards include gases, vapors, dust, fibers, and flyings, which are combustible or flammable. Electrical equipment installed in such locations can provide an ignition source, due to electrical arcing, or high temperatures. Standards and regulations exist to identify such locations, classify the hazards, and design equipment for safe use in such locations.
A placard is a notice installed in a public place, like a small card, sign, or plaque. It can be attached to or hung from a vehicle or building to indicate information about the vehicle operator or contents of a vehicle or building. It can also refer to paperboard signs or notice carried by picketers or demonstrators.
Mixtures of dispersed combustible materials and oxygen in the air will burn only if the fuel concentration lies within well-defined lower and upper bounds determined experimentally, referred to as flammability limits or explosive limits. Combustion can range in violence from deflagration through detonation.
Hazchem is a warning plate system used in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, India and the United Kingdom for vehicles transporting hazardous substances, and on storage facilities. The top-left section of the plate gives the Emergency Action Code (EAC) telling the fire brigade what actions to take if there is an accident or fire. The middle-left section containing a 4 digit number gives the UN Substance Identification Number describing the material. The lower-left section gives the telephone number that should be called if special advice is needed. The warning symbol in the top right indicates the general hazard class of the material. The bottom-right of the plate carries a company logo or name.
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally agreed-upon standard managed by the United Nations that was set up to replace the assortment of hazardous material classification and labelling schemes previously used around the world. Core elements of the GHS include standardized hazard testing criteria, universal warning pictograms, and safety data sheets which provide users of dangerous goods relevant information with consistent organization. The system acts as a complement to the UN numbered system of regulated hazardous material transport. Implementation is managed through the UN Secretariat. Although adoption has taken time, as of 2017, the system has been enacted to significant extents in most major countries of the world. This includes the European Union, which has implemented the United Nations' GHS into EU law as the CLP Regulation, and United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.
The Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) is a numerical hazard rating that incorporates the use of labels with color developed by the American Coatings Association as a compliance aid for the OSHA Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard.
Potassium nitrate is an oxidizer so storing it near fire hazards or reducing agents should be avoided to minimise risk in case of a fire.
A combustible material is a material that can burn in air under certain conditions. A material is flammable if it ignites easily at ambient temperatures. In other words, a combustible material ignites with some effort and a flammable material catches fire immediately on exposure to flame.
The West Pharmaceutical Plant explosion was an industrial disaster that occurred on January 29, 2003 at the West Pharmaceutical Plant in Kinston, North Carolina, United States. Six people were killed and thirty-six people were injured when a large explosion ripped through the facility. Two firefighters were injured in the subsequent blaze. The disaster occurred twelve years and 170 miles (270 km) from the 1991 Hamlet chicken processing plant fire, North Carolina's second-worst industrial disaster.
A boilover is an extremely hazardous situation in which a water layer under a pool fire starts boiling, which results in a significant increase in fire intensity accompanied by violent expulsion of burning fluid to the surrounding areas.
Operations Plus WMD is a training level in dealing with hazardous materials.
Pipe marking is the used to identify the contents, properties and flow direction of fluids in piping. Marking assists personnel to identify the correct pipes for operational, maintenance or emergency response purposes. Pipes are marked by labels, typically color coded, to identify the use, contents and flow direction.
Chemical safety includes all those policies, procedures and practices designed to minimize the risk of exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals. This includes the risks of exposure to persons handling the chemicals, to the surrounding environment, and to the communities and ecosystems within that environment. Manufactured chemicals, either pure or in mixtures, solutions and emulsions, are ubiquitous in modern society, at industrial, occupational and private scale. However, there are chemicals that should not mix or get in contact with others, as they can produce byproducts that may be toxic, carcinogenic, explosive etc., or can be dangerous in themselves. To avoid disasters and mishaps, maintaining safety is paramount.