The Hazard Communication
The Hazard Communication Standard was created to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are evaluated, and that this information is transmitted to all employees. Employees have the right to know what kinds of hazardous chemicals they work with or are exposed to in their work environment and what possible health effects these chemicals might pose. Employers are required to have a written Hazard Communication Program (HCP) if their employees may be exposed to hazardous chemicals. Components of the HCP include training, chemical labeling and inventories, safety data sheets, hazard assessments and exposure controls. Safety Data Sheets and Chemical Inventories Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are developed by the chemical manufacturer to provide information concerning safe use of the product. They provide workers and emergency personnel with information about physical properties (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid measures, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. SDSs are required by law to be readily available for every hazardous chemical at each worksite along with an up to date chemical inventory. Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires certain pictograms be included on manufacturer and supplier labels of chemical containers to warn you of potential hazards of exposure. It is extremely important that all containers of chemicals are properly labeled. The HCS dictates the following workplace (in-house) labeling requirements: Labels must identify the hazardous chemicals contained therein using either the chemical or common/trade name. Labels or other forms of hazard warnings must be legible, in English, and prominently displayed on the chemical container or area of use. Labels must contain appropriate GHS hazard warnings and/or signal words. Spill Response and Cleanup should always have a spill response plan in place prior to working with hazardous chemicals. Never attempt to clean up a spill if: the spilled material is unknown or highly toxic. You lack the knowledge or necessary equipment to do the cleanup safely. The spill is large and cannot be contained with a small spill kit. You are experiencing symptoms of exposure.