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OSHA 1910: 1200—HazCom Standard

OSHA refers to this Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) as the one “that gave workers the right to know now gives them the right to understand.”

To be specific: On March 26, 2012, OSHA amended the 1983 hazard communication standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The Hazard Communication Standard of 1983 gave the workers the “right to know,” but the updated Globally Harmonized System gave workers the “right to understand.”

In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers.

OSHA’s 1910: 1200 HCS requires:

  • Chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
  • All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces to have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard is composed of five key elements. These five elements are:

1. Materials Inventory: A list of the hazardous materials present in your work area.
2. Material Safety Data Sheets: A detailed description of each hazardous material listed in the Materials Inventory.
3. Labeling: Containers of hazardous materials must have labels which identify the material and warn of its potential hazard to employees.
4. Training: All employees must be trained to identify and work safely with hazardous materials.
5. Written Program: A written program must be developed which ties all of the above together.

OSHA cites the most penalized industries as follows:

  • Foundation, Structure and Building Exterior Contractors
  • Automotive Repair and Maintenance M Building Finishing Contractors
  • Architectural and Structural Metals Manufacturing
  • Machine Shops; Turned Product; and Screw, Nut and Bolt Manufacturing

Key Compliance Requirements:
As of June 2016, HCS required employers to have updated alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs in effect, and to provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards. These were considered significant changes to the standard.

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard

  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: have a specified 16-section format.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers on the labels elements and safety data sheets to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Compliance Assistance:
To see the standard in its entirety, go to:
Also, the Hazard Communication page on includes downloadable versions of the revised 1910.1200 Final Rule and appendices, updated to align with the GHS; a comparison of the Hazard Communication Standard, issued in 1994 (HazCom 1994), with the revised Hazard Communication Final Rule issued in 2012 (HazCom 2012); frequently asked questions on the revisions; and new guidance materials on the revisions. The page also contains the full regulatory text and appendices of HazCom 1994.

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard was aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in order to improve the safety and health of workers that handle or are exposed to hazardous chemicals.  Ensuring that hazardous chemicals are labeled properly is an important component of creating a safe work environment and staying compliant with OSHA. Avery,,

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