Consider taking a walk through of your labs with the sole purpose of looking at labeling. Keep an eye out for compliance with labeling of chemical bottles, aspiration flasks, tubes, samples, etc. How many instances of encountering a potential ‘unknown’ would you come across?
Labeling of materials in the labs is necessary to avoid creating unknowns, where the identities of the materials in a particular container are not easily identified. The use of abbreviations on chemical bottle labels can create confusion if the abbreviation can stand for multiple chemicals. It is not uncommon to see the use of the term ‘waste’ for material that is waste in the process but not actually hazardous waste. Unlabeled benchtop aspiration flasks can be easily missed on cluttered benches. Take the time now to proactively focus on labeling all of the containers in your labs to avoid costly classifications later. Avoid situations where researchers leave a facility, leave behind unlabeled containers, and take any potential knowledge of the contents with them.