Overview Of Hazard Communication Standards And Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide hazard communication training (HazCom training) to all employees with hazardous materials in their workplace. Unfortunately, it remains one of the top 10 OSHA violations annually. Therefore, employers must conduct HazCom training before employees will get expose to any hazardous chemicals and before encountering a new chemical hazard that requires additional training. There are many topics to include in hazard communication training. However, we list the four required topics below.
1. Employers can utilize methods and observations to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical, such as conducting monitoring, employing continuous monitoring devices, and observing visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals during their release.
2. The physical, health, simple asphyxiation, combustible dust, and pyrophoric gas hazards, as well as hazards not otherwise classified, of the chemicals in the work area
3. Employees can safeguard themselves from these hazards by following specific procedures implemented to protect them from exposure to hazardous chemicals. These procedures include adopting appropriate work practices, familiarizing themselves with emergency procedures, and utilizing the required personal protective equipment (PPE).
4. The details of the hazard communication program, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used by their employer; and the SDS, including the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information.
Six Steps to an Effective Hazard Communication Training Program
OSHA has provided a helpful guide for those who need to develop a compliant hazard communication program for themselves and their employees. The training must include labels on containers of hazardous chemicals and safety data sheets for the hazardous chemicals. Establishing hazard communication training simplifies the process significantly. Below are OSHA’s six steps to help ace the OSHA requirements for a hazardous communication training program.
Step 1: Learn the Standard/Identify Responsible Staff
To start, employers should actively obtain a copy of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard and proactively familiarize themselves with each of its requirements, accessible on OSHA’s website. It is important to give primary responsibility to a capable staff member. It is then that staff member’s job to identify staff to be responsible for any activities that require training.
Step 2: Prepare and Implement a Written Hazard Communication Program
Next, actively prepare a written plan to specify how your facility will address hazard communication. This can be done by actively preparing a list or inventory of all the hazardous chemicals in your facility. The prepared list should include the chemical name, which must be identical to the name that appears on the label and safety data sheets of the hazardous chemical.
Step 3: Actively ensure that you label containers in the workplace.
In this step, it is important to keep labels on the shipping containers and label workplace containers as needed. Each label must include the product identifier, signal word, pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and the name, address, and phone number of the responsible party. The employer bears the responsibility of ensuring that all containers in the workplace are labeled accordingly.
Step 4: Maintain Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
Safety data sheets provide detailed information on a specific hazardous chemical. Employers must maintain copies of these safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical in the workplace. These sheets also must be readily accessible to workers when they are in areas during their shifts. You can accomplish this by actively keeping the sheets in a binder in a designated location or providing them electronically.
Step 5: Inform and Train Employees
As mentioned previously, employees must undergo training on the hazardous chemicals in the facility before their initial assignment and whenever new hazardous chemicals are introduced. This also helps to make workers aware of the protective measures available in their workplace, how to apply them, and who to contact if an issue arises.
Step 6: Evaluate and Reassess Your Program
After completing the previous five steps, it is best to review your hazard communication program regularly to ensure that the program works effectively and meets its objectives. Whenever necessary, revise the program to accommodate any changed conditions in the facility.
In the workplace, always prioritize employee safety, which is why OSHA and organizations have developed these requirements. However, these regulations are not meant to cause employers stress, and with proper training, your business should face no OSHA penalties. MedPro Waste Disposal aims to make employers’ lives easier by providing OSHA compliance training to ensure your business will avoid OSHA penalties and remain compliant with all OSHA regulations. While creating a training program, it is important to know that if you have any questions go to the OSHA website for more information!