Chemicals pose a wide range of health hazards (such as irritation, sensitization, and carcinogenicity) and physical hazards (such as flammability, corrosion, and reactivity). OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is designed to ensure that information about these hazards and associated protective measures is disseminated. This is accomplished by requiring chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and to provide information about them through labels on shipped containers and more detailed information sheets called safety data sheets (SDSs) — or for older chemical shipments, material safety data sheets (MSDS).
All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must prepare and implement a written hazard communication program, and must ensure that all containers are labeled, employees are provided access to SDSs, and an effective training program is conducted for all potentially exposed employees.
This program requires supervisors of workplaces using hazardous chemicals to develop and implement a written chemical hazardous communication program to include a chemical inventory, current safety data sheets, appropriate secondary container labeling and adequate personal protective equipment for employees handling chemicals. This program requires annual documented training for employees. This program does not include laboratories.