The purpose of the Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) program is to keep workers safe from chemicals that may lead to illness or injury. It is crucial that employees are educated about the chemicals they are exposed to at work. Workplaces with hazardous chemicals must implement a hazard communication program under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). This involves implementing a hazardous chemical inventory. It also includes making Safety Data Sheets accessible and ensuring that chemical containers are properly labeled. Employers can implement an effective program of hazard communication by following these six steps,
- Standards for Hazard Communication Program
- Prepare written Hazard Communication Program
- Proper Labeling on the containers
- Safety Data Sheets
- Train Employees for Hazard Communication Program
- Program credibility assessment
An Effective Hazard Communication program can be implemented using these six simple tools. It is vital for companies and employers to successfully establish an effective hazard communication program in order to avoid OSHA penalties and fines. The Hazard Communication program helps the company to operate in a safer and accident-free environment.
Standards for Hazard Communication Program
The Hazard Communication program Standard is available on OSHA’s hazard communication homepage. Employers that use chemicals in their workplaces are covered by the standard’s rules on a documented hazard communication program.
The program includes labels, safety data sheets(SDSs), and employee education and training. It is essential that you educate yourself on these regulations in order to ascertain what is required for compliance in your job. To guarantee that your hazard communication program is successful and addresses all key components, responsibility for hazard communication implementation should be delegated to someone to coordinate. The individual assigned to oversee the program as a whole. Coordination should then assign personnel to certain tasks, such as training.
- Obtain a copy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazard Communication program Standard.
- Familiarize yourself with its provisions.
- Assign major responsibility for implementation coordination to someone.
- Assign personnel to specific activities including exercises, training, and etc.
Prepare written Hazard Communication Program
This process is to guarantees that all aspects are coordinated and complied with the standard in a systematic manner. The written program should describe how the requirements of the labels of paragraphs and other kinds of warning are met; safety data sheets (SDSs); and information and training for staff at work. The stated program also requires companies to keep a list of the known dangerous compounds at work. To construct a list, you may be able to follow the status of SDSs and markers of a specific dangerous chemical by using the product identifier. Recall, the product identification must be the name of the hazardous chemicals that appears on the label and SDS.
- Prepare a documented strategy to show how risk communication in your business is handled.
- Prepare a list or inventory at the workplace of any dangerous compounds.
Proper Labeling on the containers
The following labels must be on all containers: product identity, signal word, pictograms, danger statements, precautionary statements, and the responsible party’s name, address, and phone number. The label thus contains all of this information, although more information may appear. Container labeling is mandatory for employers. In other words, you may use the same label from the supplier or you may mark workplace containers with labels such as “3rd party systems. In addition to the other needed information. Workplace hazardous chemical containers must have at a minimum the product identity and generic information about the chemical’s dangers. A worker must receive full danger information regardless of the approach you choose.
- Always keep shipping labels on containers.
- Require proper labeling of workplace containers.
Safety Data Sheets
Safety data sheets provide extensive information about a specific hazardous substance. SDSs must be maintained for all hazardous substances found in the workplace. In order to get an SDS from your provider, just request one. SDSs must be within work area employees’ reach during work shifts. Several options exist for enabling accessibility. Your employer determines what is proper. Some employers maintain the SDSs in a binder in a central place (e.g., in the pick-up truck on a construction site). For others, access to a chemical is provided via a computer network. SDSs must always be given with an electronic backup system. The company must make sure that employees are well-versed in the system, and are able to access SDSs through the system. SDSs must be readily accessible in the case of a medical emergency.
- Maintain an up-to-date hazard information collection form for each hazardous chemical in the workplace.
- Make sure that all personnel has easy access to any applicable safety data sheets.
Train Employees for Hazard Communication Program
Employers must teach workers about hazardous substances in the work environment and when new risks are introduced. Workers must realize they are exposed to harmful substances. They must realize that safety data sheets and labels contain information about chemical dangers. Furthermore, personnel must be aware of all information available on labels and SDSs, and how to obtain it. The facility must also be aware of the available protective measures, how to use them, and whom to notify in the event of a problem.
- Let the new staff know about all the dangerous compounds they’ll be working with.
- Consider everything that is found in the standard, chemicals’ dangers, and extra safety precautions.
Program credibility assessment
You do not have to reevaluate the hazard communication program; nonetheless, it must be current and relevant to the operation. That’s the best way to do it – you should assess your hazard communication program on a regular basis. Make sure it is still doing its job and continues to accomplish its goals. You should make adjustments as needed to suit changing workplace circumstances (e.g., new chemicals, new hazards, etc.)
- Review regularly your risk communications program to ensure that it continues to operate and its goals are met.
- Review your program accordingly to shifting working circumstances (e.g., new chemicals, new hazards, etc.).