The standard that gave workers the right to know, now gives them the right to understand.
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.
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:
- Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
- 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.
Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard
- Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
- Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
- Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
- Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.
- Information on the June 14, 2016 DOT/OSHA Joint Public Meeting in Preparation for the UN Sub-committee meetings in Geneva
- Hazard Communication: Hazard Classification Guidance for Manufacturers, Importers, and Employers*
- DRAFT Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination [comment period closed]
- Hazard Communication Directive (HCS 2012)*
- Effective Dates
- Hazard Communication: Small Entity Compliance Guide for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals*
- Hazard Communication: Steps to an Effective Hazard Communication Program for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals Fact Sheet*
- Comparison of NFPA 704 & HCS 2012 Labels QuickCard [PDF*]
- OSHA/SCHC Alliance Webinar: Hazard Communications 2012 Presentation* [August 2012]
- Hazard Communication: 1 Year of Implementation 2013 Hazard Communication Presentation*
- HCS 2012: Inspection Procedures for the HCS 2012 Standard: CPL 02-02-079* [September 9, 2015]
Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance at (202) 693-1950 for assistance accessing DOC, EPS, GIF, MP4, PDF, PPT or XLS documents.
*These files are provided for downloading.