Tag Archives: Shipping labels

Label it – The guide to hazard labels

How to label what is in a package is vital to protect the people handling the package, the people receiving the package and, often, to protect the package itself.

Understanding how to use packaging labels and hazard labels is a key part of correctly packaging a product for shipping, and for delivery and storage. There are a range of labelling solutions to help guide anyone coming into contact with the package; what it contains and how to handle it.

These labels fall into two main groups: packaging labels that show how to handle a package – and, indeed, how it has been handled – and hazard labels that reveal more specifically what potential threats the goods pose if mishandled.

How to label a package correctly involves using combinations of these labels to outline how to handle and care for packages and to know what is inside.

So what labels are available and what do they mean?

Chemical warning labels and what they mean

There are a wide variety of chemical warning labels available, covering a wide range of information that anyone handling a package needs to bear in mind.

As we have seen, these can range from simple instructions that help to protect the goods in transit from mishandling – such as ‘Fragile’ and ‘Do not bend’ – right through to very specialist chemical warnings, outlining what the hazards are should something befall that package.

Remember, in many instances, you may need a combination of these labels in each package.

So, what chemical warning labels are there and what do they mean?

Chemical hazard labels

The range of chemical hazard labels offers advice no specifically as to what is in the package, but what potential hazardous effects those goods could have if mishandled.

These include:

Non flammable gas chemical hazard label

  • Non  Flammable Gas – these simple green labels let shippers know that they are handling gas, but that it won’t explode or burn. That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t dangerous in another way – something that will be denoted by other labels. An example would be helium, often found in balloons.

Toxic gas chemical hazard label

  • Toxic gas – as the image suggests, this contains gases that can kill. These labels can be used in conjunction with, say, non-flammable label as the gas contained may not be flammable, but could be toxic, such as carbon monoxide.

Flammable gas chemical hazard label

  • Flammable gas – completing the range of gas labels, flammable gas warns of gases being used or transported that can burn or explode. Again, this may be non-toxic, but dangerous because of burning. An example would be Oxygen.

Flammable liquid chemical hazard label

  • Flammable liquid – along with flammable gas, liquids can also be a fire hazard, either when near heat or on contact with air. These labels similarly need to be used in conjunction with others to specify what hazards a particular product poses. An example of a flammable liquid is petrol.

Flammable solid chemical hazard label

  • Flammable solid – strikingly stripey, these labels denote solids that can burn or catch fire. Solids are often not seen as so hazardous as they don’t ‘spill’ per se, however, there are some that do burn – an example being firelighters. Wax is also a burn hazard too.

Highly flammable chemical hazard label

  • Highly flammable – this warning label warns of content that can burn readily, easily and fiercely. This distinguishes goods that are more likely to ignite and to create a blaze that is hotter and harder to tackle than goods that are ‘just’ flammable. An example would be lighter fluid and even some aerosol cans.

Corrosive chemical hazard label

  • Corrosive – these labels warn of substances that are gaseous, liquid or solid – that can steadily erode and destroy materials and flesh. Typically, corrosion actually involves the oxidation or rusting of metal, but in the realm of safety labels it refers to substances that can dissolve and/or ‘eat away’ any material and can be either acidic or alkaline. An example would be potassium hydroxide, more commonly found in fertilisers.

Miscellaneous chemical hazard label

  • Miscellaneous – For goods that are hazardous for other reasons or for packers who want to label their products themselves, there a range of miscellaneous labels that can be filled in manually. These labels also suit people who have a range of goods and want to then offer a reason why they are dangerous. Typically, these labels are there to warn of hazards which can then be specified.

Packaging hazard labels and what they mean

Chemical hazard labels warn of what can happen if the goods contained within a package are mishandled – avoiding mishandling in the first place is perhaps even more vital and so there are a range of labels to that end.

Used in conjunction with chemical hazard labels, these can paint a good picture of how to handle goods and why they need to be handled properly.

There, as we shall see, also labels that show how goods have been handled.

So what packing labels are available?

Fragile packaging labels

  • Fragile – these labels come in a variety of styles and are a basic indication that goods need to be handled carefully as the contents might break. They can be simple or more informative – including ‘This Way Up’ indication and an idea of what is inside. In conjunction with chemical labelling this can help handlers know precisely what to do with the package.

Handle with car packaging labels

  • Handle with care – Handling instructions are also a vital part of the labelling process, outlining not only what is in the package, which way up it should go but also specifically how to handle it.

These labels include ones that require general gentle handling, to those that suggest careful opening, to those that give more specific instructions such as ‘Do Not Crush’, ‘Do Not Bend’ and the like.

Antistatic packaging labels

  • Antistatic labels – One hazard that is of increasing importance in the modern era is that of static. Electronic goods – especially computers and phones, although ‘computers’ now appear in all manner of devices, even washing machines – are sensitive to electrostatic interference – it can fry their innards.

‘Electrostatic sensitive devices’ labels are used to make sure packages containing such goods are kept clear of electrostatic and magnetic interference.

Shockwatch indicator labels

  • Shock and tilt labels – The final class of packaging labels are those that help to understand how a package has been handled in transit: to make sure that goods have been treated properly and to pre-warn anyone handling the package that it may be damaged. Labels that tell a story.

Shockwatch labels highlight if a package has been dropped or bumped. They feature a small, contained glass vial within the label, which releases red dye – so a small window on the label turns red – if the package has been shocked.

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

Tiltwatch labels are there to show whether a ‘This End Up’ or ‘This Way Up’ package has been kept the right way up, again featuring a small panel that turns red if a package has been tilted more than 90 degrees.

How to read a chemical label

The key to reading chemical labelling – in fact all the labelling – on a package lies in looking at what labels have been used. As we have seen, a combination of labels can be used to label a package to outline what is in it, what hazards that may contain and how best to handle that package to make sure that those hazards are kept from becoming an issue.

A combination of packaging and shipping labels used on one parcel could look like this:

Range of chemical hazard packaging labels

This labelling implies that the contents are fragile, probably in a glass or ceramic container and needs to be kept upright, because the contents, were it to be spilled is corrosive to skin and material. The package should also not be crushed or mishandled and a Tiltwatch label indicates to anyone handling it if it has been tipped or bumped. This way when it’s been opened it can be done so with care.

Conclusions

How to use packaging labels and hazard chemical labels is vital to both protection of the goods, as well as the protection of the people handling them and those receiving them.

Taken together, the labels can tell a story of what is both in the package, how to handle it and, with some of the more specialist labels, what has happened to it in transit.

Applying common sense to the use of these labels can help goods to be carefully handled and to arrive in good shape. And it makes economic sense too. Goods can get damaged in transit and storage, but labelling them properly so that they are handled and stored correctly can significantly mitigate this damage – and that has to make sound business sense.

Want to know more about shipping and packaging labels?

For additional advice on labelling your packages for shipping, packaging labels, read our shipping labels guide or contact our team of Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28.

Label it – the ultimate guide to shipping labels

How to label a package

Famously, letters used to arrive on Arthur Wellesley’s doormat having being simply addressed ‘Number 1, London’. While this worked for the Duke of Wellington, today’s ecommerce merchants need to include far more detail than that for packages to not only arrive where they are supposed to, but also to pass seamlessly through the international shipping network.

Here we outline all you need to know – from the basics to the details – of how to label packages for shipping, so that they get where they need to go, get there when they are promised and get there in one piece.

How to label a parcel

Knowing how to label a parcel for delivery has two distinct, yet equally important, attributes: the current name, address and shipping details and the correct kind of label, positioned accurately and firmly.

How to fill out a label

Understanding how to fill out a label depends on the country that it is being sent to, however, the rule of thumb for domestic UK parcels, according to Royal Mail, is that the name and address go on the bottom left-hand corner on the front of the package and is structured with name, building or house number and street, town, city, postcode – all clearly printed or hand written on separate lines in left-aligned text with no full stops or commas.

How to fill out a shipping label

How to fill out a shipping label

For packages going further afield, vendors need to think carefully about how to fill out a shipping label. This differs from simply sending a parcel as you need to factor in the shipping method specified by the customer. If they have selected priority shipping, you need to mark your package accordingly and pay the right postage/shipping fee.

If you are using a courier you will also need to print out their labelling as this will feature all the barcoded information that they need to get the package through their systems from collection to delivery.

How you fill in the shipping label will depend largely on the carrier and can usually be done via their website and printed out. See the section below for some examples as we look more in depth at shipping labels.

How to label a package

Before we take a more detailed look at shipping labels, it is worth pausing to look at how to label a package so that the label stays attached. While getting the details right is crucial, making sure that the label stays affixed is also key.

The best way to do this is to print the shipping details onto bespoke shipping labels and to make sure that they are properly attached.

You will also have to mark the package with what it contains: outlining whether the contents is fragile, perishable, corrosive, flammable and so on. You may also want to label your parcel “this way up” if the goods need to be kept level.

While many shipping companies will require the details of what is being shipped – especially if you’re dealing with international freight – these types of labels also help the goods arrive in prime condition: something vital to your business.

Document enclosed labels with the words ‘Documents enclosed’ printed on the actual label have the dual purpose of denoting what products are found in the parcel, as well as displaying the delivery address for the courier.

Plain printed and green doc enclosed

Documents enclosed envelope labels: putting all the details in a handy adhesive wallet is a great idea

There is also an extensive range of other labels to denote contents and handling instructions, such as ‘Fragile’, ‘Handle With Care’ – which are there to help keep the product ship shape during transport, as well as to inform the carrier of the special requirements or to warn of any dangers or issues with the contents.

Shipping labels

‘Fragile’ and ‘This Way Up’ are just some of the ways to label your package

And for extra safety, there are even TiltWatch packaging labels, where the indicator turns red if the parcel has been tilted 90 degrees or more.

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

TiltWatch packaging labels: a handy way to see if your package has been kept the right way up

How to label a box for shipping

As we have seen, learning how to label a box for shipping is key to getting your package to the right person, at the right time and in mint condition. Shipping labelling is vital to making this happen.

What is a shipping label?

A shipping label differs from an address label in that it not only features the address of where the package is to go, but also specifies the contents of the container being shipped.

When looking at how to write a shipping label, you must make sure that it contains the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, its weight, the contents of the package and, if the merchandise is subject to any form of inspection – especially when it crosses borders – the inspection information must also be included.

Labels also include information relating to the method of shipping – be it priority, standard and so on – the carrier, the date sent and tracking information for the shipper.

What does a shipping label look like?

If you’re unsure on what a shipping label looks like, below is an example, but yours will feature the specific information you need to display dependent on what you are shipping and how.

What does a shipping label look like

How to put a shipping label on a package

The shipping label should be on one side of your package – ideally the top if there is a ‘This Way Up’ label on the package – and should be sized so that it fits entirely on that side. Ensure you put a shipping label on a packaging without it being folded over the edges or parts of the label being on the sides, as important information might not be seen or it might prevent it from being scanned!

If you use self-adhesive labels, make sure that they are firmly applied, with no missed corners sticking up, as this could cause the label to be accidentally removed or damaged.

Some shippers also like to cover their labels in transparent tape or insert them into an affixed plastic wallet such as a Documents Enclosed Envelope to protect them from moisture and other damage. This is good practice, but make sure that the whole label is displayed and that the label can be read easily.

In conclusion

So, for anyone who isn’t the Duke of Wellington, these are our top tips for labelling packages for shipping. Remember to clearly show the name and address, show the sender, the contents, weight, priority and customer’s requirements – and make sure that everything is on the label and is firmly secured to the package and, where you think necessary, protected with tape or a cover.

Also consider how to mark your packages with relevant labels, which will help to get it to their destination in mint condition, so look at where best to use ‘Fragile’, ‘This Way Up’ and other labels to help instruct carriers and customers on how to handle the package with care.

For more information, why not read our Labelling Packaging for Shipping guide or visit www.rajapack.co.uk to see our entire range of packaging labels, or call our team of experienced Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 4428.