HR Support on OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)

Editor's Note: Employees have the right to know about chemicals.

Melissa BoyceOverview: Part of encouraging safety in the workplace is hazard communication. Hazard communication (HazCom) refers to the employer's obligation to tell employees about the hazardous substances used in the workplace, including information regarding correct handling and methods of containment, among others.

The OSH Act mandates hazard communication and right to know; in addition, many other agencies have their own federal regulations on hazard communication requirements.

States also may have their own right to know laws that stipulate an employee has the right to know when he or she has been exposed to a toxic chemical. These laws mandate what chemical exposure levels must be reported and how they must be reported.

Trends: OSHA's HazCom Standard was updated to comply with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The revised standard had to be fully implemented by June 1, 2016..

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor

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HR guidance on OSHA's hazard communication standard (worker right to know).