Hazard Communication (HazCom)

ALERT: OSHA’s Hazard Communication (HazCom) Final Rule is Here!

The OSHA Hazard Communication standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, is designed to help protect employees from hazardous chemicals used or stored in the workplace. It gives employees the right to know and understand the chemicals they may be exposed to and how to work with them safely. The standard generally aligns with Revision 7 of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This alignment brings a consistent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating the hazards associated with their use.

The HCS applies to ALL employers with one or more employees that may be exposed to non-exempt hazardous chemicals under normal operating conditions or in foreseeable emergencies. With two exceptions (see Note), covered employers are required to develop, implement, and maintain a written hazard communication (HazCom) program that describes how they’ll meet HCS requirements for:

  • Labels and other forms of warning for containers of hazardous chemicals,
  • Safety data sheets (SDSs) for hazardous chemicals, and
  • Training and information for employees with potential exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The written HazCom program also must include:

  • A list/inventory of the non-exempt hazardous chemicals present in the workplace,
  • How employees will be informed of the hazards of both non-routine tasks and chemicals in unlabeled pipes, and
  • How the employer will communicate chemical hazard information on a multi-employer worksite.

Note: Two operations — laboratories and work operations where employees only handle chemicals in sealed containers, such as warehousing, cargo handling, and retail — are not required to have a written HazCom program, but they do have other responsibilities under the HCS.

Topics — What You Need to Know

All containers of non-exempt hazardous chemicals must be labeled, tagged, or marked with at least the product identifier and general information on the hazard(s) of the chemical. However, the OSHA HCS is more stringent about labels on containers that leave the workplace. With few exceptions, labels on shipped containers must have the following elements:

  • Product identifier
  • Pictogram(s)
  • Signal word
  • Hazard statement(s)
  • Precautionary statement(s)
  • Name, U.S. address, and U.S. telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party

These six OSHA HazCom label elements create a GHS-style label. Get the answers to frequently asked questions about OSHA HazCom labels.

Chemical manufacturers and importers must obtain or create a 16-section safety data sheet for each non-exempt hazardous chemical they produce or import. Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors must then ensure that SDSs for non-exempt hazardous chemicals are provided downstream to distributors and employers. Employers are required to have an SDS for each non-exempted hazardous chemical used in the workplace. These SDSs must be readily accessible to employees when they are in their work area(s).

See the safety data sheet FAQs to learn more.

Employees must be provided information and trained on non-exempt hazardous chemicals at the time of their initial assignment and when a new hazard is introduced into the workplace. HazCom information and training must cover:

  • The general requirements of the HCS
  • Operations in the work area where hazardous chemicals are present
  • How to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical
  • All hazards associated with chemicals in the work area
  • How employees can protect themselves from chemical hazards, including appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and PPE use
  • Details of the employer's HazCom program, including an explanation of labels and SDSs
  • Location and availability of the written HazCom program, chemical inventory, and SDSs

Get more details about required HazCom training.

To be compliant, an employer must:

  • Identify and create a list of non-exempted hazardous chemicals in the workplace
  • Prepare a written HazCom program, if not exempted, and update as needed
  • Ensure all hazardous chemical container labels in the workplace are compliant
  • Obtain an SDS for each non-exempt hazardous chemical
  • Make the SDSs readily accessible to employees when they are in their work area(s)
  • Update SDSs when new versions become available
  • Provide employees with information and training on non-exempt hazardous chemicals in their work area(s)
  • Inform employees of 1910.1200 requirements, operations where hazardous chemicals are present, and the location and availability of the written program, chemical inventory, and SDSs
  • Train employees in how to detect a hazardous chemical, hazards of chemicals in the work area, measures they can take to protect themselves, and an explanation of labels and SDSs
  • Inform employees of the hazards of non-routine tasks
  • Inform employees of the hazards of chemicals in unlabeled pipes in their work area(s)
  • Provide additional training when a new chemical hazard is introduced into the work area(s)
  • Comply with any labeling and training requirements, as necessary, by the dates in 1910.1200(j)

J. J. Keller Hazard Communication Services

J. J. Keller offers a range of services to meet your hazard communication needs:

J. J. Keller Chemical Center

J. J. Keller® Chemical Center

J. J. Keller® Chemical Center, part of J. J. Keller® Safety Management Suite, has the tools needed to create and maintain a comprehensive HazCom program, including access to SDSs and GHS-style labels. Learn more about J. J. Keller® Safety Management Suite.

OSHA Compliance Program

OSHA Compliance Program

J. J. Keller consultants assess your OSHA compliance and safety risks and provide ongoing guidance and resources to improve workplace safety and health. An onsite assessment can focus on your hazard communication program and SDS review and analysis. Learn what's included in the OSHA Compliance Program.

Chemical Management Service

Chemical Management Service

Work with J. J. Keller consultants and have your HazCom program managed for you. Our full-service chemical management service is tailored to your needs and includes a HazCom program assessment, chemical inventory creation, SDS and label management, training, and program reporting. Learn more about our Chemical Management Service.

Hazard Communication Solutions

Stay compliant with OSHA's HazCom standard with our wide range of products, including hazcom training, labels, and supplies.

HazCom Training

Meet requirements for HazCom and Globally Harmonized System training with programs in a variety of formats.

OSHA and GHS Pictogram Labels

Choose from a variety of OSHA HazCom and Globally Harmonized System labels.

HMIS® Labels

Hazardous Materials Identification System labels help you comply with OSHA's HazCom Standard for workplace in-house labels (not labels on shipping containers).

Labels that Compare to NFPA 704

Get the four-color, square-on-point labels you need to comply with NFPA® marking requirements.

SDS Supplies

Get the tools you need for OSHA hazard communication, GHS, and safety data sheet (SDS) compliance.

Hazard Communication and GHS Posters

Laminated posters cover a variety of related topics.

HazCom Made Easier Handbook

Gives employees important information to better ensure safety and health around hazardous chemicals.

Hazard Communication Compliance Manual

Comprehensive manual provides guidance on hazard communication programs.