What does the HazCom standard cover?

The HazCom (Hazardous Communication) standard from OSHA covers a number of important things related to dangerous chemicals in the workplace. It was developed to help ensure employees have the right to know about the dangers related to chemicals that they are likely to work with. In order to accomplish that goal, the standard has grown to include information about labeling chemicals, providing information about their hazards, and more.

HazCom Labels

The HazCom standard indicates that any area where a dangerous chemical is present needs to be labeled. These labels are designed to be easy to understand, and to convey important information to those in the area quickly and easily. Some labels, for example, will have just a simple hazard pictogram that indicates the type of danger that is associated with a specific chemical. This could include skin irritation, cancer causing, flammable, and more. Other labels will provide additional details about the chemical including what, if any, personal protection equipment needs to be used when in the area.

Globally Harmonized System

HazCom has been made to work along with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This was done by OSHA to help ensure companies in the United States were following proven safety standards related to chemicals around the world.

Safety Data Sheets

While the labels are set up to provide a fast and simple way to let people know what chemicals are in an area, and what their dangers are, they don’t have enough room to include detailed information. That is where safety data sheets are necessary. The HazCom standard makes sure that employers have a safety data sheet on location that contains more information about each chemical that is present. This will include information about how to respond to an accident, what long-term impact chemicals can have, and much more.

The HazCom standard offers additional details and requirements related to things like what training must be provided, what to do in the event of a problem, and more. In general, however, this set of standards is focused on chemical safety for employees in the workplace.


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