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Hazardous Materials Investigation System (HMIS)

Last updated: March 9, 2019

What Does Hazardous Materials Investigation System (HMIS) Mean?

The Hazardous Materials Investigation System (HMIS) is a hazardous materials color coded labeling system. It was developed by the American Coatings Association in compliance with the OSHA Communication Standard. The HMIS color bar uses four colors; blue, red, white and orange. It is not intended to be used in emergencies, but, rather, as a more general indication of a health warning. The HMIS color bar is similar to the Fire Diamond that is used by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).

Safeopedia Explains Hazardous Materials Investigation System (HMIS)

Prior to 2002, the Hazardous Materials Investigation System used the four colors blue, red, white and yellow. In that year, however, yellow, which had stood for reactivity, was replaced by orange, which stands for physical hazard. The four color codes each have a number between 0-4 to indicate the level of risk. Blue stands for the level of health warning. Red indicates flammability level. Orange is used to indicate the physical hazard and white is used to indicate what physical protection should be worn around the hazard.


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