Dealing with Hazard Communication: The Basics

Hazard Communication Training 101

Nicknamed: HazCom

So, OSHA has decided to drop in and you’re in a pickle because as far as you know, you “think” everything is up-to-date. Where do you start and why on earth is this an HR problem?

Safety is such a large part of a manufacturing environment, this could probably be its own 30 book collection of posts. But in the interest of time and saving your sanity, here’s the quick and dirty.

What is HazCom?

HazCom is a program that is run under the United States Department of Labor and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The program is geared to the idea that all employees have the right to know what hazardous chemicals they are using and handling.

OSHA has now adopted the Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) per the United Nations as part of their system of classifying, labeling, and maintaining data on hazardous chemicals.

Who needs to participate in HazCom?

All employers that “use” hazardous chemicals, all employees and supervisors that would come into contact with hazardous chemicals.

Where do you start?

Best place to start is the government website but be warned, there’s a lot of information.

https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/

https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/standards.html

In addition, you could always ask for a consultant to come out and visit:

https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html

How often do you need to conduct training?

Employers have to provide any employees who are working with hazardous chemicals training and information when they start or if there’s a new type of chemical.

Some places may have county specific requirements for example Berkeley requires annual training.

Next steps:

  1. Find out what requirements are in your specific area.
  2. Figure out which of your employees are going to be responsible.
  3. Begin collecting and categorizing what hazardous materials you may have.
  4. Develop a program.

But what do I know… I’m

~Just the HR Girl

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