What’s Wrong With this Picture


Bottle containing acetone

Improperly labeled bottle containing acetone

Q: Can you spot the hazard in the image above?  Is it water, mineral water, or perhaps soda? Keep reading to find out?

A: The bottle in the image above contains acetone. One could very easily confuse this for what is actually supposed to be in the container, which could lead to serious injury. This is a common sight not only within general industries, but also on a more limited scale in the construction industry. Acetone is a highly flammable chemical (Category 2) mostly used as a solvent. But in reality, it could be any other hazardous chemical. The proper container with the correct warning label is required.

Container requirements:

General Industry

1910.106(d)(2)(i)  General. Only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used. Metal containers and portable tanks meeting the requirements of and containing products authorized by chapter I, title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (regulations issued by the Hazardous Materials Regulations Board, Department of Transportation), shall be deemed to be acceptable

Construction Industry

1926.152(a)(1) Only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used for storage and handling of flammable liquids. Approved safety cans or Department of Transportation approved containers shall be used for the handling and use of flammable liquids in quantities of 5 gallons or less, except that this shall not apply to those flammable liquids materials which are highly viscid (extremely hard to pour), which may be used and handled in original shipping containers. For quantities of one gallon or less, the original container may be used, for storage, use and handling of flammable liquids.

Labeling requirements:

1910.1200(f)(6)(ii) Product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and which, in conjunction with the other information immediately available to employees under the hazard communication program, will provide employees with the specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemical.


1910.1200(f)(8) The employer is not required to label portable containers into which hazardous chemicals are transferred from labeled containers, and which are intended only for the immediate use of the employee who performs the transfer.


1910.1200(f)(10) The employer shall ensure that workplace labels or other forms of warning are legible, in English, and prominently displayed on the container, or readily available in the work area throughout each work shift. Employers having employees who speak other languages may add the information in their language to the material presented, as long as the information is presented in English as well.


Information about the chemical is mandatory. All chemicals must be properly labeled according to their hazard classification. Please refer to section 2 of the Safety Data Sheet for this information.