Chemicals: Hazcom, HCS & GHS
HCS stands for Hazard Communication Standard, which is the OSHA standard with the goal to ensure employers and workers know about chemical hazards in the workplace and how to protect themselves.
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is important because it enforces the idea that workers have the right to know about:
- What chemicals are in the areas you will be working in?
- What are the hazards of those chemicals?
- How do you protect yourself from those hazards?
Workers have a right to know what chemicals are in their workplace, especially if they have to use them as a part of their job. HCS requires that chemical manufacturers and importers must develop a Safety Data Sheet or SDS for each chemical they produce or import. Safety Data Sheets contain valuable information about the hazards of specific chemicals and an SDS must be kept on hand for each chemical at the job site.
Workers should be familiar with the potential hazards of any chemical they use at work. It is important that all chemicals be labeled properly.
Chemicals that are not properly labeled, or that have damaged labels, should never be used and these chemicals should be reported to the manager or supervisor immediately.
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