Safety Data Sheets and Warning Signs

***** "Material Safety Data Sheets" are now known as "Safety Data Sheets" *****

Know the hazards associated with the materials you use! Always review chemical safety information, such as an SDS or other resource, before starting work with a new or unfamiliar chemical.

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) provide chemical-specific information, including chemical, physical, and toxicological properties, along with suggestions for storing, using, transporting, and disposing of chemicals. Current regulations require that all SDSs follow the same format (see OSHA Safety Data Sheet information). SDSs should be consulted as a first step in assessing risk associated with a new experiment or product. 

sds button

The UC Office of the President maintains a web page ( for chemical information, including a custom Google search for Safety Data Sheets, a link to the RightAnswer chemical information system (see below), and other useful sources. 

UC Safety Data Sheet Resources

Chemical Hazard Information

Chemical-specific hazard, toxicological, medical, and environmental information can be found through the RightAnswer online information system. The UC Office of the President has obtained a site license for this excellent resource, and it is available to all main UC sites with UC IP addresses. You will need to register when you use the system for the first time, but you will not need to pay. Contact EH&S at (831) 459-2553 or  for assistance or questions. 


Warning Signs

Laboratory spaces where designated biological, chemical, or radiological materials are used or where potential physical hazards exist are posted with warning signs. Researchers, staff, and visitors should note and understand hazard communication information provided on the warning signs, including specific hazardous agents (biological, chemical, radiological) and physical hazards (lasers, magnetic fields) present and used in the space, stated precautions (no food or drink allowed), and required personal protective equipment (lab coat, eye protection, gloves, etc.).

GHS Symbols

The GHS (Globally Harmonized System) symbols were developed by the United Nations as a world-wide standardized system for the classification and labeling of chemicals. Click here to view the GHS symbols.


Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS)

Laboratory Warning Sign Symbols

Biological Hazard

biohazard warning symbol

The biological hazard warning is used to identify locations, equipment or materials where infectious agents may create a health risk. It is used to identify specific equipment, containers, rooms, and waste items that are known or potentially contaminated with biohazardous materials.

Radioactive Material and X-Rays

radioactive material warning symbol

All areas where radioactive materials or x-rays are used are posted with this symbol. The symbol also identifies specific equipment, containers, rooms, and items that contain, or are potentially contaminated, with radioactive material.


laser warning symbol

The laser warning sign indicates the presence of a laser with enough power to cause injury to your eyes or skin. Do Not Enter a room with this symbol unless you are sure the laser is off. Do Not Enter a room if you cannot determine if the laser is on or off from the lighted warning sign outside of the lab.

High Voltage

high voltage warning symbol

Rooms or areas within rooms that contain high voltage equipment are posted with this warning sign. These areas can present significant hazards should a flood or water leak occur. Do not work on or handle open wiring or open devices that may be energized.

Strong Magnetic Field

magnetic field warning symbol

This warning sign is common in rooms with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) machines. Do not approach the magnetic field area with metallic objects, including tools or equipment. 

No Pacemakers or Metallic Implants

pacemaker warning symbol

Individuals with pacemakers, other medical electronic devices or metallic implants MUST STAY OUT of areas with this warning sign. This warning sign is common in rooms with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) machines.