In accordance with OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200, employers are required to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed.

These requirements must conform with the provisions of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). One of the primary purposes of the GHS is so that chemical manufacturers can more effectively communicate hazards associated with a specific chemical product by means of picture illustrations, also referred to as pictograms.

Chemical hazards are categorized into two types: health hazards and physical hazards.

A health hazard is a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence that concludes that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees. Recognized health hazards are classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects: acute toxicity (any route of exposure); skin corrosion or irritation; serious eye damage or eye irritation; respiratory or skin sensitization; germ cell mutagenicity; carcinogenicity; reproductive toxicity; specific target organ toxicity (single or repeated exposure); or aspiration hazard.

A physical hazard is a chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects: explosive; flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids); oxidizer (liquid, solid, or gas); self-reactive; pyrophoric (liquid or solid); self-heating; organic peroxide; corrosive to metal; gas under pressure; or in contact with water emits flammable gas.

Accordingly, to ensure employee safety and health from hazardous chemicals, the employer must establish and implement the following:

  • A site-specific written Hazard Communication Program detailing the elements of the standard;
  • A comprehensive list of all hazardous chemicals and/or mixtures in the workplace;
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), on-site, for all hazardous chemicals;
  • Proper labeling in accordance with the Hazard Communication Standard; and
  • Employee training in accordance with the Hazard Communication Standard.

EDMC Safety and Health offers a compliance program to bring your organization into conformity with the required elements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.

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