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An effective HAZCOM program depends on the credibility of management's involvement in the program; inclusion of employees in safety and health decisions; rigorous worksite analysis to identify hazards and potential hazards, including those which could result from a change in worksite conditions or practices; stringent prevention and control measures; and thorough training. It addresses hazards whether or not they are regulated by government standards. The following references characterize and further explain HAZCOM programs.

Example Programs

Written Plan

All workplaces where employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals must have a written plan that describes how the standard will be implemented in that facility.

  • Sample Hazard Communication Program. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, (2004, July 14), PDF, 28 pages. Provides a blank template that may be used to develop a written program.
  • Hazard Communication. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH).
  • Hazard Communication. Oklahoma State University, Environmental Safety and Health Department. Provides an online training program in the components of an effective hazardous communication program -- Right to Know, Training, Signs, Labels, and Forms.
  • Online Course Hazard Communication Program. Oregon OSHA. Helps employers develop a hazard communication program.


All containers of hazardous chemicals must be labeled, tagged, or marked with the identity of the material and appropriate hazard warnings.

  • Label Review Manual - Table of Contents. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (2008, October 10). Provides guidance for pesticide labels.
  • Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice 2000-3. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (2000, April 11), 81 KB PDF, 10 pages. Announces a change to EPA guidance regarding the format and content of first aid statements on all pesticide product labels. The guidance in this notice is intended to update the first aid language on all pesticide product labels.
  • Consumer Labeling Initiative (CLI). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Includes reviews of the scientific literature, as well as the results of focus groups assembled to address labeling issues about the effectiveness of labels.
  • Z129.1, Hazardous Industrial Chemicals-Precautionary Labeling. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard. This voluntary consensus standard gives guidance regarding labeling of industrial chemicals.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to obtain or develop an MSDS for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. Distributors are responsible for ensuring that their customers are provided a copy of these MSDSs. Employers must have an MSDS for each hazardous chemical they use.

  • Results of Survey Regarding the First Aid Information. OSHA. Outlines elements that are useful in the first aid section of an MSDS, provides several indicators that may help identify when further scrutiny of the information is warranted, and lists some resources for information on industrial chemicals.
  • International Programme on Chemical Safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs). Summarizes essential health and safety information on chemicals for their use at the "shop floor" level by workers and employers in factories, agriculture, construction and other work places.
  • Chemical Safety. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic. Provides links to MSDS databases available on the internet.
  • The MSDS A Basic Guide to Users - International Version. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).
  • Online Safety Library: Material Safety Data Sheets. Oklahoma State University (OSU). Provides links to MSDS databases available on the internet.
  • Z400.1, Hazardous Industrial Chemicals - Material Safety Data Sheets - Preparation. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard. This voluntary consensus standard gives guidance regarding preparation of material safety data sheets.


Each employee who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals when working must be provided information and trained prior to initial assignment to work with a hazardous chemical, and whenever the hazard changes.

General Resources

  • Job Hazard Analysis. OSHA Publication 3071, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 497 KB PDF, 50 pages. Explains what a job hazard analysis is and offers guidelines to help employers conduct their own step-by-step analysis.
  • Safety & Health Management Systems. OSHA eTool. Presents four crucial questions you should be asking when it comes to safety and health programs. The detailed answers are found in the four modules of this eTool.
  • $afety Pays Program. OSHA, (2007, December). Assists employers in estimating the costs of occupational injuries and illnesses and the impact on a company's profitability.
  • Safety and Health Management Program Guidelines; Issuance of Voluntary Guidelines. OSHA Federal Register Notice 54:3904-3916, (1989, January 26). Provides safety and health program management guidelines for use by employers to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.
  • Safety and Health Add Value. OSHA Publication 3180. Also available as a 200 KB PDF, 6 pages. Describes how safety and health add value to your business, your workplace, and your life.
  • Sampling and Analysis. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Provides information about chemical sampling and analysis used by occupational health and safety professionals to assess workplace contaminants and associated worker exposures.
  • Process Safety Management (PSM). OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Helps assure safe and healthful workplaces. Contains OSHA requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals.

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