Laboratories, shops and maker spaces where hazardous materials are used or stored are required to post an up-to-date caution sign at the entrance.
A caution sign is required to be posted in a Plexiglas holder above or near the room number placard at each entrance that has a door or barrier.
The purpose of the sign is to warn emergency responders and visitors of potential hazards in the space and to meet multiple regulatory requirements. The caution sign consolidates signage requirements for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704 Hazardous Materials, biohazardous and radioactive materials authorization, entry requirements, food and drink prohibitions and lab contact information.
Hazards listed for that location include all items inventoried in MyChem, the University’s chemical inventory database.
The signs are printed out and updated by personnel using the Caution Sign page in MyChem. It is the responsibility of personnel (responsible party, supervisor, manager, etc.) to update the signs if significant changes occur in chemical inventories, entry requirements, hazardous materials authorizations or contacts.
- Occupants replace signs as needed by updating their MyChem inventory and using the Caution Signs page available in the MyChem menu to print a new sign.
- You must have an account in the MyChem chemical inventory system to create or edit a sign based on the chemical inventory in your laboratory, shop or maker space.
- After logging into MyChem, click on the Caution Sign menu item and select the building and room (or suite) to create a customized sign for your location.
Sign holders are provided by EH&S and available upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the chemical hazards listed under the NFPA diamond, hazards identified on caution signs with pictograms include:
- Compressed gases
- Radioactive materials
Use the Caution Signs Instructions to create and post your caution sign, including:
- There are two kinds of caution signs – Room Signs and Suite Signs
- For areas or rooms with multiple entrances – caution signs must be posted at each entrance and show the same information.
- Look for rooms within a room or rooms accessible only from another room. A collection of rooms like this is considered to be a suite and needs a Suite Sign posted at each main/primary entrance, with Room Signs posted at the entrances of the inner rooms.
- Within a suite, only rooms that have a door and are used as lab spaces need a Room Sign.
- Any rooms which are not used for chemical or wet lab work but are still lab spaces (procedure room, microscope room, autoclave room, etc.) should have a caution sign, even if the chemical diamond shows only zeros and no PPE is required.
- Alcove spaces, open benches, and corridors within a suite that are identified with a room number do not get their own Room Sign. Their inventories are combined into and reflected on the Suite Sign for the suite they are part of via the Caution Sign Tool.
- All labs that have spaces/alcoves/corridors/inner rooms which are part of a suite must identify each space/alcove/corridor/inner room by room number on the Suite Sign for that suite.
- Suites within a suite will not be listed on the same caution signs.
Note: All chemicals, compressed gases, and compressed air tanks should be listed in MyChem under the room number that corresponds with their exact location, regardless if that room has its own caution sign. This applies to chemicals and compressed gas tanks located in rooms without doors, alcoves, open benches, and corridors.
An example map of caution sign locations is shown in the Caution Sign Instructions.