The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. This update will also help reduce trade barriers and result in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals while providing cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard.
How does the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard effect your small business? Well first let’s take a look at what OSHA sets as some standards.
Hazard Communication Standard
In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of such information:
All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.
So you read this and say to yourself, “I don’t deal in hazardous chemicals”. But if you have things like cleaning chemicals, hand soap or any sort of chemical in your workplace, that employees or the public can handle, then you need to comply with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.
This includes not using generic, unlabeled cleaners, or buying cleaners in bulk and putting them in unlabeled bottles. Using a marker on the bottle isn’t enough either.
Do you have all SDS sheets and a chemical listing of chemicals onsite, that is available to all employees, not locked in a drawer in a back office.
Have you conducted employee awareness training on how to read an SDS sheet?
Click Here to download a Sample Hazcom Policy that can be adapted for your needs, but remember a small business owner might find a full and proper Hazard Communication Plan to be overwhelming to fully and properly design.
Feel free to contact me if you have a question about designing and implementing your own Hazard Communication Plan, or if you want to discuss having me come out and conduct a full Safety Audit.