The Hazard Communication Standard (Hazcom) is in place to enforce health and safety in the workplace. In order to remain compliant, an employer must be aware of the standard and implement the necessary changes, communicating the necessities to employees across the business. In this article, we discuss a range of examples that can be implemented by businesses to remain Hazcom compliant.
To ensure everyone is familiar with the Hazcom requirements, all employees should be provided with training to provide them with the knowledge and resources needed. Whether this is delivered on-site or online, this training should be incorporated into the induction process for new starters and ongoing refreshers should be provided to the wider team. There have been positive results reported from organizations who have delivered more interactive training programs including Q&A style delivery, real-world scenarios, and quizzes.
To provide visual cues where needed, implementing clear signage throughout a site using standardized icons and phrases can help ensure Hazcom compliance. The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for labeling is a well known system which utilizes pictograms, signal words, and hazard statements which can be quickly and easily identified by workers and emergency response personnel. By using a consistent labeling system across any chemical products or hazards which are present in the workplace, safety measures are improved significantly.
Instead of dealing with problems as they arise, it is important to have emergency response procedures in place so everyone knows how to act in the event of an emergency, being able to evacuate in a quick and efficient manner. A business should conduct regular fire or evacuation drills to practice emergency exits and ensure all alarms, emergency exit lighting, and evacuation points are unobstructed and working as they should.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided and used when working around hazards. For example, for employees exposed to hazardous chemicals, they should be given a set of goggles, gloves, and any other necessary PPE to ensure they are protected from the potential dangers.
To ensure compliance and consistency throughout the workplace, employers have a duty to carry out routine inspections to identify any areas of the business which may require improved safety measures or further training. It is a good practice to create an inspection checklist which aligns with Hazcom requirements, ensuring that all aspects of the business remain compliant.
Records should be kept of all incident reports, training programmes, safety data sheets, and changes implemented. This way, the business has proof of Hazcom compliance and can provide evidence of any records needed during inspections. For example, safety data sheets must be available to all employees as they provide information on all hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, allowing them to access the safety and handling information needed.
For businesses who use hazardous substances, they are required to keep an up-to-date chemical inventory which allows them to manage their supply. There are various digital softwares available which help maintain an accurate inventory, tracking important information such as stock levels, usage details, expiration dates, and those who are in charge.
- What is the HazCom standard?
- What does the HazCom standard cover?
- What is HAZCOM training and how often is it required?
- How often is HazCom training required?
- What is a HazCom program?
- What does HCS stand for?
- Who in the workplace must have HazCom training?
- What does a HazCom label include?
- How does OSHA define a hazardous chemical?