Learn about the NFPA Hazard Rating System

What does the NFPA hazard rating system mean?

The NFPA hazard rating system refers to, in part, a safety standard put forth by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). This standard, NFPA 704, outlines a hazard rating system for emergency personnel.

The NFPA 704 standard also defines the necessary signage and information that needs to be displayed to alert personnel of the type of hazardous materials that are present.

This NFPA hazard rating system includes three color codes and five intensity levels.

Each color code (blue, red, and yellow) of the hazard rating system corresponds to a hazard: health, fire, and instability (denotation or chemical change).

Within each colored section, a numerical rating is given to the hazard. The ratings range from 0 to 4. A rating of 4 is the highest. If a 4 is in the red section of the hazard rating system, then the material should be considered highly flammable and therefore dangerous.

Within the NFPA hazard rating system, there is also a white colored section. This section is often left blank, but if a hazardous material presents a special hazard, such as a material that reacts explosively to water, then this section would be used.

There are only two symbols that are officially part of the NFPA hazard rating system for use in the special hazard section, with one additional symbol for simple asphyxiant gases that is recognized. Other additional symbols can be added by the end-user, and placed outside the NFPA diamond.

NFPA Hazard Rating System

For more information about the full NFPA 704 hazard rating system and standard, click here.

What is the NFPA?

The NFPA is a non-profit organization that promotes safety standards, education, and advocacy on fire and electrical-related hazards. Learn more...

What are the NFPA color codes?

The NFPA color codes for the NFPA 704 standard identify the type of hazard that a material presents. The colors used are blue, red, and yellow, and each stand for a unique type of hazard. Learn more...

What is NFPA 704?

NFPA 704: Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response is a safety standard that defines how hazardous materials are identified for emergency responders. Learn more...

What is NFPA 170?

NFPA 170: Standard for Fire Safety and Emergency Symbols is a safety standard that defines fire safety, emergency, and other related safety symbols for use in signage, diagrams, and plans. Learn more...

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