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The Crucial Role of Correct Labelling for Disinfectants and Detergents in Professional Settings

In professional hygiene and safety, the correct use and labelling of disinfectants and detergents are not merely recommended practices; they are integral to ensuring workplace safety, regulatory compliance, and the effectiveness of the cleaning protocols. This article delves into the significance of decanting disinfectants and detergents into appropriately labelled containers, focusing on regulatory frameworks in the UK and Ireland and highlighting best-practice resources. 


Understanding the Importance of Correct Labelling 

The act of transferring disinfectants or detergents into different containers, often referred to as decanting, requires meticulous attention to labelling. Proper labelling ensures that the contents of each container are immediately identifiable, preventing misuse and ensuring that safety information is readily accessible. Proper labelling should be legible, it should reflect the health and safety information shown on the safety data sheet and should be able to withstand the use of the packaging. If the bottle is likely to get wet, the labelling must be waterproof. When diluting chemicals such as disinfectants or detergents, it is vital to ask your manufacturer how long the diluted solution remains stable for. End-users should make a note of the date of dilution to ensure expired solutions are not used. 


Regulatory Compliance in the UK and Ireland 

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stipulates clear guidelines under the GB Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (GB CLP). This regulation mandates that any hazardous substance, including disinfectants and detergents, must be accompanied by appropriate hazard communication, which includes labelling and safety data sheets. It also ensures the correct documentation is available for workplaces to conform to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). 

Similarly, in Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) enforces regulations that align with the European Union’s Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation. 

These rules require that all hazardous chemicals must be labelled with pertinent hazard information to ensure user safety and informed handling. It’s recommended to extend these rules to decanted chemicals to ensure safety information is prominent. 


The Risks of Improper Labelling 

Using inappropriate containers, such as drink bottles or containers intended for other chemical products, can lead to disastrous outcomes. Such practices not only heighten the risk of chemical accidents but also contravene health and safety regulations, potentially resulting in legal repercussions and compromising workplace safety. Employers must train their teams on the correct method of decanting and storing diluted chemical products to avoid putting themselves or their colleagues at risk. 

Cross-Contamination: Using unlabelled or mislabelled containers can lead to cross-contamination, affecting the efficacy of the disinfectants and posing health risks to users as chemicals can react with each other. 

Accidental Ingestion: Storing chemicals in food or beverage containers significantly increases the risk of accidental ingestion, with potentially fatal consequences. 

Skin Irritation: Unlabelled or improperly labelled containers can give end-users a false sense of security. For example, not labelling a chemical which may cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation could lead to a user not using gloves during application. Such irritation can lead to life-long conditions and understandably lead to claims for compensation from employees. 

Legal and Financial Repercussions: Non-compliance with regulatory standards can result in fines, legal action, and a tarnished reputation. 

Unreliable Efficacy: Storing the product in incorrect packaging can lead to faster degradation of active ingredients or the packaging itself. Using expired or inappropriately labelled diluted disinfectants can make biosecurity protocols ineffective, wasting resources and putting lives at risk. 

Pollution of Environment: The disposal of diluted chemical products is crucial. If disinfectant containers are unlabelled, or incorrectly labelled, end-users could dispose of products inappropriately into watercourses or the environment, causing harm to wildlife.   


Best-Practice Resources 

Professionals looking to adhere to best practices can consult several resources. The HSE’s COSHH essentials provide a comprehensive guide on how to manage hazardous substances at work. Additionally, the National Health Service (NHS) offers guidelines that underscore the importance of using original containers with clear labelling to prevent contamination and errors. 

Byotrol provides reusable trigger spray bottles for its concentrated disinfectant products, to ensure end-users can be provided with appropriate containers for the storage and application of diluted disinfectants. Designed with the repeated use of professionals in mind, these bottles are screen-printed with all relevant health and safety labelling which ensures that users are aware of the risks of using the diluted solutions. The bottles are manufactured in the UK using 30% recycled plastic, and both bottle and trigger are recyclable at the end of their lifecycle. 

To allow end-users to record the date of dilution and dilution rate, Byotrol supplies colour-coded dilution stickers, which are adhered to the bottle of diluted solution, ensuring that expired products are not used. 

Byotrol’s biosecurity and infection control training resources encourage end-users to dilute, decant, store, and use disinfectant products correctly, promoting the safe and sustainable use of disinfectant products in animal health, laboratory, critical services and facilities management environments. 



The proper labelling and appropriate use of containers for disinfectants and detergents are not just about compliance; they ensure a safer working environment and protect the well-being of those who rely on these substances to maintain hygiene and safety. By adhering to the best practices and regulatory requirements in the UK and Ireland, professionals can mitigate risks and uphold the highest standards of workplace safety. 

Employers and professionals are encouraged to regularly consult resources like the HSE and HSA websites, and engage with manufacturers and health and safety experts to stay updated on best practices and regulatory changes, ensuring that their practices remain compliant and safe. 

To find out how Byotrol’s best practice infection control and biosecurity training resources could help your team to reduce risk, please contact us.