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Quality & Performance



What is a BS5609 label?

BS5609 is an internationally recognised standard covering the suitability of a particular label for use on containers of chemicals for shipment by sea. BS5609 approval is a requirement for self adhesive labels on drums of chemicals which need International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) certification.

The BS5609 standard sets out various durability criteria including adhesive performance, print permanence and abrasion resistance with a minimum standard for labels to be used in marine environments.

There are two key sections of the standard:

Section 2 – The Label performance.

This section tests the permanence and durability of the label material and adhesive under conditions of marine exposure, temperature variations, weathering and exposure to salt spray and sunlight. Our Matt White PE (BS5609) material is approved to BS5609 Section 2.

Section 3 – The Print performance.

This tests the print key, abrasion resistance and permanence of the print on the label. Only section 2 approved materials can be tested for section 3.

Section 3 compliance is granted when a particular material is tested in conjunction with a specific printer model. It follows that if either the specified material, printer model or ink used to produce the finished hazard label is changed or modified the section 3 compliance will be void. In conjunction with OKI we can offer full compliance to Sections 2 and 3 of the BS5609 standard.

For a limited time period printer manufacturers, OKI, are offering a free printer trial to qualifying potential customers. To see if you could benefit from this trial please go to: 

Alongside the printer trial we will be sending a sample pack of BS5609 approved labels for you to try.

In very simple terms the BS5609 labelling standard means that if a drum falls off the side of a ship and washes ashore the label must still be stuck to it and the information printed on it must be readable.

Although in many general labelling applications the full BS5609 certification may not be required it is, in practice, widely used to describe an extremely durable label suitable for ‘harsh conditions’.

Matt White PE is available from all of our sheet label ranges so if you require a label not listed here please go to Self Adhesive labels and choose your label then scroll down the products available to the Matt White PE material. This material is also commonly used in other harsh and difficult labelling environments due to its technical attributes.

The following is a list of the most popular sizes used for 'BS5609' labelling types of application. For more label sizes please see the individual label ranges and select the BS5609 material from the grades available.