Safety comes in many forms and levels. For the government, it comes in GSA-approved security lock systems, which are incorporated in their safes, offices, and even containers.

The government entrusts the GSA with ensuring that the containers and safes have lock systems that meet their standards.


What Are The GSA Labels?

Once GSA approves a container or safe, they affix a label to show that they meet the GSA standards. The label affirms that the container, safe, or file cabinet is in good condition for use.

On vaults and containers, the labels are placed at the door for everyone to see, while the cabinets have labels on their top drawer’s front side.

The GSA-approved safe or container label is the only proof that your container is approved. No label means No approval, and you will require a recertification process to have the GSA approval label.


What Are The Different GSA Classes?

Different GSA classes and lock systems have different labels. Like many other systems in the government and other entities, security is also progressive. GSA classifies its security lock systems in classes starting from 1 to 7.

1 is the oldest, and 7 is the more recent class in terms of upgrades.

Different years and situations call for security upgrades in the government, which also leads to the GSA requiring upgraded lock systems for their safes and containers.

Class 1, 2, 3, and 4 were manufactured before 1990. After October 1990, only classes 5, 6, and 7 were manufactured. Later, the class 7 GSA containers also stopped being used, and all that is left now are the class 5 and 6 GSA approved containers.


GSA Labels: Based On Classes

GSA labels come in 3 colors, the black label, red label, green label, and blue label.


Black Label 

This label is affixed on containers or safes manufactured before 1990. Class 1, 2, 3, and 4 are black label containers. And although their security lock systems were up to par, they are no longer manufactured, and even those left functioning can no longer be relabelled or recertified.

They are referred to as the black label containers because the lettering on the label is black, written against a silver label.


The Red Label

The green label applies to GSA-approved security locks manufactured after October 1990. They include the class 5 and 6 GSA containers and safes. The approval label is silver, with the letters written in red.


The Green Label 

The green label containers are in class 7 as per the GSA categories. These containers had green letters against a silver label. They are no longer manufactured, which only leaves the class 5 and 6 GSA lock systems.


The Blue Label

The blue label is attached to Information Processing System containers that are GSA-approved. They serve to protect government computers. Their labels are silver, with blue letters on them.


The Black Label Containers: What Are The New Rules?

The black label containers are no longer being manufactured, and the GSA is taking further action to ensure that they are not recertified or replaced. Black label containers are now old and outdated.

Here are some of the new rules regarding black label containers:

You are good to go if you have a good and functioning black label container with a good lock system. However, if the container fails or gets destroyed, it will not be repaired and can no longer be used as a GSA-approved container.

After it is destroyed, it ceases to meet the safety standards of GSA and, therefore, cannot be approved as a standard.

This rule only applies to containers and not vaults.

While it is not acceptable to repair the black label containers, they can be replaced if their lock systems require maintenance or minor repair.

However, they still have to retain the GSA standards and should not be neutralized. If they are neutralized during repair, the container is no longer GSA-approved. Therefore, you cannot use it for classified storage.

Even after repair, the container cannot be recertified, meaning that the GSA will not place a label showing that it is in good working condition.


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