Hazard Communication (HazCom)

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard is designed to protect employees from hazardous chemicals used or stored in the work setting. Also referred to as Right To Know, it requires that training and information be provided to any employees who have the potential of being exposed to a hazardous chemical "under normal condition of use or in a forseeable emergency."

HazCom training requires the presence of hazardous chemicals be communicated to employees in a variety of ways, including:

  • The hazardous chemical inventory
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) / Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Labels, tags or signs
  • The written hazard communication program

OSHA issued a final rule to align its Hazard Communication Standard with the Globally Harmonized System of Chemical Classification and Labeling (GHS), and all of those changes are now in effect. The changes focus on:

HazCom Compliance Checklist

To be compliant, an employer must:

  • Train employees on the hazardous chemicals in the workplace
  • Instruct workers on how to recognize exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Provide training on container label elements
  • Offer instruction on Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format and content
  • Explain to employees how to access SDSs
  • Update SDSs when new versions become available
  • Update the written HazCom program as needed
  • Explain to employees how to obtain a copy of the written HazCom program
  • Train employees on any in-house labeling system used
  • Make sure all container labels in the workplace are compliant

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Essential Solutions

Did You Know?

All containers of hazardous chemicals must be labeled, tagged or marked with the identity of the material and appropriate hazard warnings. To be both GHS- and OSHA-compliant, container labels must have the following elements:

  • Product identifier/ingredient disclosure
  • Pictogram(s)
  • Signal word
  • Hazard statement(s)
  • Precautionary statement(s)
  • Supplier identification