What are BS5609 Labels?


The term “BS5609 labels” can sometimes be referenced as such when describing an extra durable label.

It is not an imperative requirement for your label to have BS5609 certification unless it is a printed self-adhesive label to be placed on a chemical drum and shipped by sea.

However, there are a variety of Labels used in wet or humid conditions which are often made with BS5609 compliant materials or BS5609 approved adhesive, some examples of these are boat labels, labels used in Garden Centres.  All the information is required to remain firmly attached to the product for identification /batch code purposes.

Gilly Print have excellent knowledge in supplying labels, materials and printers to suit almost any industry requirement.

The BS5609 Standard

BS5609 is a British Standard which relates to self-adhesive chemical labels which are exposed to the elements of sea waters, sun, salt and abrasion.  It is most often known as a requirement for “Marine Labels”.

BS5609 approved labels are required to be made from  a durable material, adhesive coated and use a high- performance suitable ink which will remain legible in extreme seaBS5609 labelling and salt water conditions.

The main 2 sections of the BS5609 standard are;

Section 2 – Label Performance

Section 3 – Print Performance

There are strict regulations which exist according to the IMDG code for labelling on Dangerous Chemicals transported by sea.

Due to the Maritime Dangerous goods code (January 2014) BS5609 certification is required for self-adhesive Labels used on goods transported by sea which can have a hazardous effect on the Health ie toxic or irritants, environment, and also physical hazards such as explosive or flammable.

The correct storage and labelling procedures must to be adhered to in order to ensure safety during transportation.  It is vital to protect the crew and other human life and avoid polluting the sea waters. 3 months sea immersion testing is required so that if the drum washed up ashore it still has all the critical Safety Data and GHS Pictogram(s) firmly attached and legible and therefore can be dealt with accordingly if found .

GHS is a Globally Harmonised System which is for hazard labelling.  The GHS was formed in order to have a globally recognised format of identifying chemicals or substances in a clear and concise way by using the correct labelling and an understanding of the need to follow the Data sheet/Advice.

GHS guidelines should be followed regarding the information required on the GHS Label and the size and style of the label.

There are 9 GHS Pictograms which are diamond shaped with a red border.   The Pictograms can be used for labelling of hazards on chemicals /substances.

To summarise, due to the IMDG code and the GHS legislation, when shipping goods which can pose a hazard to human or aquatic life then it is a requirement for the organiser to ensure that the labels have been fully tested to BS5609 standards. That standard is then also used a good benchmark for other types of labelling where durability of label and print in certain conditions is required.