The HazCom Standards is short for the Hazardous Communication Standard. It started off as a program from OSHA called ‘Right to Know.’ It was based on the fact that employees have a right to know what types of chemicals are being used in the area around them. In addition, they have the right to know what types of dangers these chemicals present.
Of course, once employees know about these hazards, they can also demand things like personal protection equipment to ensure they are safe in the workplace. In fact, part of the HazCom standards is making sure that employees are aware of what type of personal protection equipment they should be using while near certain chemicals.
Who Follows the HazCom Standard?
HazCom was made by, and is still enforced by, OSHA. This means that any company that is in the United States will have to follow these standards. It would only apply to companies that use hazardous chemicals. This could include manufacturing facilities, medical facilities, warehouses, shipping companies, and many others. Many companies outside the country will also follow this standard, especially if they regularly work with US based businesses.
The HazCom standards are also followed by those who follow the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). This is because OSHA has taken steps to make sure that HazCom is compatible with GHS. Making sure that the two standards are compatible has helped to push a more global adoption of these types of safety efforts.
What Does HazCom Require?
The HazCom standard requires that employers provide employees with training related to safety when working with chemicals. This starts with making sure they are able to determine what chemicals are in an area. This will typically be done by putting up HazCom labels on the containers or other areas where chemicals are present. Employees will need to be trained on how to read these labels so they can react appropriately.
Part of the training will also be to go over which chemicals are used within a facility, or chemicals that an employee may come into contact with during their job. There are thousands of different chemicals, many of which can be dangerous. The employer really only needs to cover the chemicals that are present. In the event that the company starts using a new chemical, however, they must provide updated training to ensure it reflects this.
Compared to many other workplace regulations, the HazCom standard is quite a bit easier to follow for employers, and to understand for employees. Despite this fact, however, it still provides significant protections to everyone in the area.
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