Environmental & Safety Blog



There have been a number of huge changes to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) recently. Are you ready?


This is the year you'll need to train employees on how to read and understand GHS formatted safety data sheets (SDSs) and labels. If you haven't done so already, now is the time to lay the groundwork for compliance.


The hazcom standard applies to almost every organization and employer covered by OSHA regulations. It applies to manufacturers, importers, and distributors of hazardous chemicals, and to employers with employees exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals in general industry workplaces, shipyards, marine terminals, long-shore operations, construction sites, and certain agricultural workplaces.


Here are 6 helpful tips that can help ensure compliance with HazCom and the protection of your employees:


  • Identify all hazardous chemicals in the workplace and make sure they are properly labeled.
  • Develop a written hazard communication plan, including a list of the hazardous chemicals you've identified, procedures for communicating hazards, the names of the individuals in the organization responsible for managing the program, and so on. Review your plan periodically and keep it up to date with changes in the workplace and changes in hazards.
  • Post safety signs wherever they are needed to warn employees of chemical hazards.
  • Ensure availability of SDSs and accuracy (SDS files should be updated as needed). Employees should have access at all times to the SDSs they need.
  • Train employees to recognize substances that are hazardous, understand the hazards, understand GHS-compliant labels and SDSs, take proper precautions to prevent exposures and other incidents, and report spills and other problems related to hazardous materials in the workplace. You only have until December 1 to train employees on GHS labels and SDSs.
  • Make sure that employees for whom English is a second language fully understand hazards and required precautions. Translate written materials and/or use translators to ensure comprehension if necessary.

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