The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created a vital risk identification system for Hazmat teams and emergency responders that is still in use today. This system, known as the NFPA Diamond, provides a quick visual reference for handling hazardous substances, such as chemicals. Before introducing the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) labelling, some chemical producers used NFPA diamonds on their products.
The NFPA Diamond consists of four colour-coded fields, each representing a specific hazard. The blue field represents health hazards, the red field represents flammability, the yellow field represents reactivity, and the white field represents special hazards. Each field uses a numerical scale from 0 to 4, where 0 indicates no hazard and 4 indicates extreme danger.
This system was developed specifically for firefighters and emergency responders in fire emergency situations. However, it may not be suitable for laboratory settings or first responder situations. In Malaysia, the NFPA system is slowly being replaced by the GHS system. Although the existence of the NFPA system is being phased out, it is still valid in Malaysia.
It’s important to note that the NFPA Diamond only provides information about the hazard, and not about how to respond to an incident involving the hazardous substance. The information in the signage is straightforward and can only be understood by those familiar with the hazmat diamond system.
In conclusion, the NFPA Diamond system is a crucial aspect of hazmat recognition and an easy reference for those familiar with the system.