When is a HazCom program required?

Any company that operates in the United States and has any type of dangerous chemicals in use will need to have a HazCom program implemented. This is required by OSHA, which is the agency that came up with the HazCom program in the first place. It was intended to make it mandatory for companies to keep their employees informed about the risks of chemicals that are used in their jobs.

What makes a chemical hazardous?

There is not a set list of chemicals that will make it so a company has to have a HazCom program implemented. This is largely because of the fact that new chemicals are developed, new research into the dangers of existing chemicals is done, and it would be difficult to keep such a list updated. OSHA does require, however, that anytime a company has chemicals known to be dangerous they have this type of program implemented.

Fortunately, this is not a very difficult program to use in the workplace. If a company only has one dangerous chemical in use, for example, they will only have to train their employees on this specific one. The training could be done quickly and putting up the necessary HazCom labels and other information will be easy and inexpensive.

Even when a company uses dozens of different chemicals the training is not terribly complex. This is because rather than making sure every employee knows every detail of the chemicals, they only need to be aware of the types of dangers. This is typically done by using pictograms and other easy to understand systems. A label, for example, can have a pictogram of a flame. This will indicate that the chemical in the area is flammable. At its most basic level, this will be sufficient to cover a number of different chemicals. Of course, employees must also be able to get detailed information about each chemical so they can be as safe as possible.

Following GHS

Any company that is using the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) will also benefit from learning about HazCom. In many countries around the world, GHS is the standard that is followed for chemical safety. This is why OSHA made sure that their HazCom standards were compatible with the GHS rules.


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