Labeling is a very important part of any manufacturing process and with dangerous substances, correct labeling can save lives. It is extremely important to have labels that are legible and adequately detailed as to their contents and handling requirements. Hazardous materials packaged in different containers may seem ready for shipment, but mishaps along the route can be a cause for concern. Anything may happen to cargo, from a slipped tarp on a truck in a rainstorm to submersion in sea water in the event of a shipwreck.

Labels that are ripped, torn, waterlogged, or washed away and are no longer legible pose hazards to those engaged in rearranging cargo, reclamation of lost inventory, delivery of goods, and even cleanup. This is common with labels made of paper and adhered to containers with tape. Plastic labels work better in that they are not as easily torn, and tape adheres to Plastic labels much better than it does to labels made from paper.

Plastic labels may seem like a good idea, and in some situtions they are adequate, but the method used to inscribe the contents and the contents’ warnings may not be. Thermal printing on waxed paper and polyester resin ribbons, or a combination of wax and polypropylene resin ribbon, is the safest method available.

Waxed paper that is printed with contents and warnings can be used when the likelihood of contact with water is very low. This type of ribbon can be used with a thermal printer to create labels that will not fade in the sun. Contact with water can damage these labels. Labels that need to be waterproof should be made of either a combination or of resin only. These labels will resist damage from the sun’s rays, wind, and submersion in both fresh water and sea water.

Not having adequate labeling can lead to injury of those handling cargo. The more dangerous a substance is, the better the label should be. Labels may not seem important, and are often placed as an afterthought, but this should never be the case when dangerous substances are being shipped. Just as food ingredients are given on every food item helping consumers prevent allergic reactions and high sodium and fat intake, labels made from thermal transfer ribbons and adhered to goodsprior to shipping should serve the same purpose and should be able to withstand all of the possible rigors of transit and handling between your doors and the customer’s door.