Consistency and clarity of syringe labelling are important elements in the prevention of medical errors. Colour coding syringe labels was first introduced in the UK in 2003 when the new standards for labels were introduced by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The aim was to standardise colour coding for syringe labelling to prevent medication mix-ups and provide easy to use classification identification system for syringes.
Drug errors are extremely uncommon and represent a small part of anaesthesia problems but still have the potential to seriously morbidity. All drug labels are now colour coded to match the drug type to ensure no danger to a patient by being given the wrong type of drug and treatment.
The colour coding is as follows…
Colour Code Drug Classification
Red Non-Depolarising Relaxants
Yellow Induction Agents
Grey Local Anaesthetics
Salmon Major Tranquilizers
Green Anti-Cholinergic Agents
White Other Agents
Please note some labels can have stripe markings on them on top of a white label. See below…
Orange Hypnotic Antagonists
Red Relaxant Antagonists
Purple Hypotensive Antagonists
Blue Narcotic Antagonists
Our upcoming blogs will outline label products available and guidelines for the use of syringes for all healthcare providers and ward staffs who are involved in the management of critically ill patients. This includes Operating Theatres, Intensive Care Units (ICU), Coronary Care Units (CCU) and other areas with critically ill patients.