Hazard labelling and packaging

Hazard labelling and packaging (under the old system being replaced)

 

The classification and labelling provisions laid down in Finnish chemicals legislation apply to preparations and substances classified as hazardous that:

  • contain at least one substance classified as hazardous; and
  • are classified as posing a danger of fire or explosion, a danger to health or a danger to the environment.

 

The provisions also apply to preparations that are not classified as hazardous but:

  • on which a safety data sheet must be compiled (under Article 31 of the REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006); or
  • the packaging of which must be fitted with child-resistant fastenings and/or tactile warnings of danger (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health decree 430/2001); or
  • on the packaging of which special markings must be placed in accordance with Appendix 3 to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree on chemical classification principles and labelling (807/2001).

 

The enterprise responsible for placing a chemical on the market or supplying it for use must obtain such information on the physical and chemical properties and health and environmental effects of the chemical supplied by it as is reasonably available and adequate to meet the requirements set for it by virtue of the legislation (the 'duty to obtain information' laid down in Section 16 of the Chemicals Act), on the basis of which the chemical can be classified and labelled under categories specified in section 3 of the Chemicals Decree and its packaging be labelled in accordance with section 16 of the Chemicals Decree (as required under section 5 of the Chemicals Decree).

 

The enterprise must make sure that the packaging in which the chemical is supplied is durable and safe and that the packaging carries the information, warning labels (i.e. danger symbol (hazard label), R- and S-phrases) and instructions for use required for safety and identification (section 17 of the Chemicals Act).

 

Package labels

 

A dangerous chemical (preparation) may not be placed on the market or supplied for use unless the following information is marked clearly and indelibly on the labelling of its packaging (section 16 of the Chemicals Decree 675/1993):

 

1. the trade name or other designation of the preparation;
2. the name, address and telephone number of the enterprise responsible;
3. the dangerous substances contained in the preparation as laid down in Appendix 1 to Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 807/2001, 9§;
4. danger symbols and indications of danger and their names (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 6/2010, Appendix 5);
5. the standard phrases indicating danger, i.e. the "R-phrases" (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 6/2010, Appendix 6);
6. the standard phrases indicating safety measures, i.e. the "S-phrases" (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 6/2010, Appendix 7);
7. the quantity of the contents of the preparation if intended for retail sale; and
8. other labelling required for the safe use of the chemical as laid down by Appendix 3 to Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 807/2001.

 

The following information must be provided on the packaging of a dangerous chemical (substance) placed on the market or supplied for use:

 

1. the name of the substance as given in the list of dangerous substances (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 509/2005);
2. the EC number. If the substance is included in the list of dangerous substances (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 509/2005), its label must also carry the words 'EY-merkintä, EG-märkning' (EC label)';
2. the name, address and telephone number of the enterprise responsible;
3. the danger symbols and indications of danger and their names;
5. the standard phrases indicating danger, i.e. the  "R-phrases";
6. the standard phrases indicating safety measures, i.e. the "S-phrases"

 

The information must be provided in Finnish and Swedish on a label affixed or printed on the packaging. Further guidelines regarding package label content, appearance and size can be found in Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 807/2001. The Decree also lays down provisions regarding the labelling of small packages (less than 125ml). The information required under chemicals legislation about dangerous chemicals must be clearly distinguishable from other product information provided on the label.

 

Labels must have the following measurements:

 

Packaging volume

Measurements (mm)

Maximum 3l

minimum 52 x 74

More than 3l but maximum 50l

minimum 74 x 105

More than 50l but maximum 500l

minimum 105 x 48

More than 500l

minimum 148 x 10

 

Each danger symbol must cover at least one-tenth of the surface area of the label but may not be smaller than 1cm².

 

The enterprise is responsible for compliance with the provisions laid down in the Chemicals Act and the decrees issued under the Act. Individual chemical labels are not confirmed by authorities, but authorities may address the correctness of labelling through monitoring.

 

A chemical may also subject to further labelling requirements under other legislation, such as:

 

  • the Detergents Regulation (EC) No 648/2004, amendment 907/2006;
  • the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree on the packaging and labelling of biocidal products (422/2000);
  • the Aerosol Dispensers Decree 1433/1993, amendment 805/1994.

Packaging

 

Under section 15 of the Chemicals Decree (675/1993), dangerous chemicals must not be placed on the market or supplied for use unless their packaging meets the following requirements:

 

1) the packaging must be designed and constructed so that its contents cannot escape;
2) the packaging and fastenings must be made of materials that are not affected adversely by the contents and do not form dangerous compounds with the contents;
3) the packaging and the fastenings must be strong and solid enough to ensure that they do not loosen and that they are able to withstand the strains and stress caused by normal handling;
4) a packaging with a replaceable fastening device must be so designed and constructed that the packaging can be refastened repeatedly without the contents escaping;
5) a packaging that contains a chemical specified by the relevant Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree and intended for retail sale must have a child-resistant fastening (safety fastening) and a tactile warning of danger for the visually impaired as laid down by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree; and
6) a packaging containing a dangerous chemical may not be offered or sold to consumers if the shape or graphic decoration of the packaging could attract a child or arouse the curiosity of a child or could mislead the user of the chemical, or if the appearance or design of the packaging is similar to the packaging of a foodstuff or other product intended for ingestion, or animal feedingstuff, a medical product or a cosmetic product.

 

Except for the special packaging requirements laid down in paragraph 5, packaging of preparations is deemed to be in accordance with the Chemicals Decree if it meets the requirements covering transport of dangerous substances by rail, road, sea or air or on inland waterways.

 

Child-resistant fastenings and tactile warnings of danger

 

Provisions regarding child-resistant fastenings and tactile warnings of danger for the visually impaired required in the packaging of dangerous chemicals intended for retail sale are laid down in Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 430/2001.

 

Regardless of packaging size, the packaging of chemicals intended for retail sale and rated as very toxic (T+), toxic (T) or corrosive (C) must have a child-resistant fastening. This obligation also applies to liquid chemicals classified and labelled as harmful (Xn) and as chemicals that may cause lung damage if swallowed (R65) as well as chemicals that contain 3% or more of liquid methanol or 1% or more of dichloromethane (methylene chloride).

 

The purpose of the child-resistant fastening is to prevent poisonings of young children by making it difficult to open the packaging. Child-resistant fastenings used on reclosable packages must comply with ISO standard 8317. Non-reclosable packages must comply with CEN standard EN 862.

 

Regardless of packaging size, the packaging of chemicals intended for retail sale and rated as very toxic (T+), toxic (T), corrosive (C), harmful (Xn), extremely flammable (F+) or highly flammable (f) must carry a tactile warning of danger. This does not, however, apply to aerosols intended for retail sale that are classified merely as extremely flammable (F+) or highly flammable (F) (for details see Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree 430/2001).

 

The tactile warning of danger alerts consumers who are blind or partially sighted about the fact that they are handling a dangerous chemical. The technical specifications for tactile danger warnings must conform to EN ISO standard 11683 regarding tactile warnings of danger. The tactile danger warning is a raised equilateral triangle (with its sides 16−20mm in length) with sharp or rounded corners.

 

The standards can be purchased from the Finnish Standards Association (SFS).