How to read the NFPA Diamond and Color Bar System

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The NFPA rating scale and bar code system supports the NFPA 704.  Defined by the NFPA, the objectives of the NFPA 704 System are:

  • To provide an appropriate signal or alert for the protection of both public and private emergency response personnel
  • To assist in planning for effective fire and emergency control operations, including clean-up
  • To assist all designated personnel, engineers, plant, and safety personnel in evaluating hazards

The NFPA Rating scale is displayed as a diamond and consists of four segments including health hazard, fire hazard, specific hazard, and instability. They are also color-coded as follows: blue for health, red for flammability, white for specific hazard and yellow for instability.  The NFPA Color Bar consist of three of these same segments excluding the specific hazard.  These systems are widely used and will identify the hazards of a material by four principal categories:

Health Hazard – ranks the specific material’s probable severity to personal health

Fire Hazard – ranks the specific material’s susceptibility to burn

Instability – ranks the specific material’s ease, rate and quantity of energy released

Specific Hazard – identifies the specific material’s special hazard potential or any special protection which may be required

The Rating Explanation Guide below can be used to determine the specific rating to be used.  Seton carries many signs, charts and labels to meet your specifications for NFPA communication.



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