Hazard Communication

What is hazard communication?


Hazard communication is a general term that describes federal OSHA’s hazard communication standard (HCS) and which aligns with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The globally harmonized system (GHS) is a global standard that helps workers communicate and understand the hazards of substances they are exposed to, regardless of their country’s origin. While chemical manufacturers, distributors and employers are responsible for most hazard communication duties, it is also imperative that employees become and remain informed about the dangers of chemicals or other hazardous substances in their workplace.

What are the dangers of hazardous substances?

1. Contact with corrosive materials that can cause permanent tissue damage
2. Inhalation of hazardous vapors or gases which can lead to injury, illness or death
3. Illness from digestion of food or liquids that have been contaminated by a hazardous substances
4. Eye contact with hazardous liquids or gases which can cause temporary or permanent blindness
5. Flammable or explosive vapors and gases which can ignite, causing fire or explosions
6. Contact with substances that can affect pregnancies and unborn children

What controls may be used to protect yourself and others from hazardous substances?


1. Ensure that safety data sheets (SDS) and labels are present for chemicals used or stored on the job
2. Ensure chemicals are properly stored away from food, drink and clothing areas
3. Keep chemicals away from ignition sources at all times
4. Ensure personal protective equipment such as goggles, gloves, boots, aprons and respirators are used as required
5. Ask your supervisor if you are not sure when to use personal protective equipment
6. Be on the lookout for any sign of chemical hazards and evacuate / report them immediately
7. Never handle a chemical unless you are confident that you know the risk and correct procedure for handling the chemical
8. Avoid the use of all chemicals if you are nursing or pregnant

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