The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (Title 8 CCR, § 5194) requires employers to provide material Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each chemical handled and stored on the facility’s site. OSHA issues more citations on this standard than virtually all others’, therefore companies are expected to comply with the standard’s basic requirements.
Under this standard employees have a right to know the hazards associated with the chemicals in the workplace and to express concern that protections are implemented based on the properties of the hazardous materials on-site. This is why the OSHA Standard is referred to as the Worker Right-to-Know law. Therefore, it is valuable that employers provide useful information about the hazards of chemicals in the workplace in order to prevent harmful exposures and traumatic incidents.
- A written Hazard Communication Plan that identifies the methods by which an employer informs employees and the public of the presence of hazardous materials.
- Train employees in recognizing and identifying hazard warning signs and labels
- Conduct an inventory of chemicals handled and stored in the facility
- Maintain Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals found in the chemical inventory
- Update employees periodically on hazard information regarding the chemicals they handle
In 2013 changes to this Standard require updating the quality of information presented in Safety Data Sheets and on labels of chemical containers to conform to the Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS). As a result employers must update employee training to recognize the new rules and how the updated information applies to their workplace.
Though long considered a high-maintenance program, ARC Enterprises guides many companies to effectively implement the program so that it is meaningful, corresponds to other hazardous materials requirements and standards, and can be easily managed by employees.