BS ISO 11683 Tactile Labels – What I really need to worry about?

Discover whether you should be concerned about complying with the BS iso 11863 standard. This covers tactile warning labels and what action is required to stay compliant.

Do you ever feel the stream of European legislation and standards in the packaging and labelling sector is never ending? That “red tape” conspires to make the lives of manufacturers, distributors and retailers increasingly more complicated?

Whilst we believe legislation has an important role to play within the labelling industry. Sometimes we wonder how effectively changes are communicated and how practical terms rules are enforced. The guidance notes and supporting documentation for Labelling and Packaging are not the easiest information in the world to digest!

Take BS EN ISO 11683:1997 as an example. Apart from the labelling manufacturers is anyone aware of what this legislation entails?

What Is ISO 11683

For those of you not fully au fait with BS11683. It’s the standard set out to protect people who are blind or visually impaired when handling packaging for substances and preparations that could be potentially harmful or dangerous.

Such products are required to be labelled with a tactile warning of danger – a raised equilateral triangle.  The warning triangle can be applied from rolls as a transparent clear label. This is applied over the printed label already on the packaging.

A far more aesthetically pleasing and easier to apply is where the tactile warning label is printed as an integral part of your printed label.  For smaller packaging, the danger warning triangle can comprise three raised dots forming the point of a triangle.

How do I know if the products I supply to the market require tactile warning labels under the legislation?

Well, that is an interesting question and one is that is not so easy to answer by doing a simple search on the internet!

All you will find initially is that BS 11683 covers any products that are sold directly to the public that are classified as “toxic”, “very toxic”, “harmful”, “extremely flammable”, or “corrosive”. This includes aerosol products propelled by butane.  These require a tactile warning label.

Dig a little deeper and you might come across the table on the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) website which outlines the Hazard Criteria and whether a tactile label is required.

OK, next question – how do you know if your product falls under one of the classifications?   Well, that really depends on where you fit in the supply chain.  If you are a manufacturer or importer of chemicals you must classify, label and package your products appropriately before they go to market.  You are also responsible for adding your substance to the Classification and Labelling (C & L) Inventory which is managed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

If you are further down the supply chain and you formulate other products from substances supplied or you refill them into different containers or re-import notifying the C & L Inventory is not required.  However you are still responsible for ensuring that you understand your duty of care under the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation and that your products are correctly classified and accurately labelled.

Under the CLP Regulation sellers and distributors of chemicals, such as retailers, who are only storing and selling on the chemical to consumers, can rely on the classification information that they have been given by their supplier. Bear in mind if the chemical is changed in any way before it goes to market, the seller or distributor becomes responsible. For classifying, labelling and packaging the chemical.

You might be surprised at the diversity of products that fall under the BS EN ISO 11683 : 1997.  From stylish e-cigarette liquid cartridge refills to the more mundane bottles of glue; from ant killer to household cleaning products – the legislation is probably more far reaching than you think.

Everyone in the supply chain has a responsibility to ensure that a substance or mixture is labelled and packaged correctly before it goes to market.  If you are not sure pick up the phone and ask us, we are always happy to help.

Who enforces ISO 11683?

Local Trading Standards Authorities are responsible for policing the legislation.  Their aim is to help businesses to trade legally.  Many local authorities offer detailed guidance notes for those involved in the manufacture and distribution of these potentially harmful and dangerous products.

Coming back to the  question do you need to worry about BS 1168 – I think if you make yourself aware of your responsibilities under the legislation, work closely with your supply chain and local Trading Standards Agency and choose an expert supplier in the labelling industry you will have all the bases covered.

If you are at all confused by BS 11683 or any of the other legislation around labelling please call us on 01440 712 273. With over 23 years of experience in the labelling industry, lots of happy customer and the right quality credentials we have the expertise to help.