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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

QR Codes and MSDS

Using QR codes on product labels can revolutionize the way we communicate handling information for hazardous materials and potentially save lives.

As everyone needing to have MSDS (material safety data sheet) knows, it is hard to provide the information on the MSDS in times of emergencies. Although labels contain some of the information on an MSDS, it cannot contain all the information an MSDS will have.

So how do Chemical Companies, Pharmaceutical companies and anyone else needing to make their MSDS available can make them more accessible?

The simplest solution is to add a QR code to the product label. The QR Code can contain a URL (website address) of the MSDS of the product.  Most current mobile phones can read this code with their camera.

What is a QR Code?

A QR Code is a two-dimensional (2d) bar code created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response", as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. Just as the name suggests, adding the QR code to a product label can help the first responders at a time of emergency get all the information they need quickly.

Overview of QR code
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL.  The software required for reading the QR code is readily available from Google, Microsoft, Nokia and iPhone among others.

Many existing label design programs have the capabilities to create these codes. The codes can also be created free of charge on several websites.

Most industrial printers currently in use are capable of printing these codes as well. Although the drawing above has some color in it a QR code does not need to be printed in color in order to work.


This particular QR code was created using NiceLabel and printed to PDF file. You can see if your own phone can read this barcode by printing this page and trying to scan it using your cell phone camera.

To get the software go to Mobile-Barcodes website . They offer a full list of QR readers and all the phones that are compatible with each application. The applications are free and easy to use.

Using QR codes on product labels can revolutionize the way we can communicate handling information for hazardous materials and potentially save lives.


Anonymous said...

This is a great way to use QR barcodes. Way more useful than the way facebook is trying to use these codes.

There's this company that has an iPhone app that uses QR barcode technology to process mobile payments. I think that's another great way that this technology is being used. If you want to check them out visit

Anonymous said...

It's nice to read that blog. It's really useful information to make MSDS more accessible.

Anonymous said...

So, are the manufacturing chemical companies posting the QR codes of their products on their MSDS so that young scientists-students can post them on their science projects ?

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mac said...

Will using a QR code satisfy the requirement of sending an MSDS with the first product order of the year or when there is a change to the MSDS?

The Label Lady said...

I am not sure. If you are taking about regulatory requirement, then it might not.

Online Msds said...
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Farzana yeasmin Arzu said...

The MSDS Sheets and the Health Product Declaration may bring a lot of fame and acknowledgement to the readers. The MSDS will really make reporting requirements stricter and should make the forms easier to read according to Paula Melton at BuildingGreen. I also gotten a perfect match and many free different msds sheets from Msds Sheets

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