Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) – the Right-to-Know Law

HAZCOM (Hazard Communication) program is a written plan developed to protect you from the hazards posed by chemical materials used in the workplace.

The plan covers aspects of identifying, handling, using, storing and disposing of chemicals and other hazardous materials used in your job in a safe manner.

HAZCOM programs are mandated by the Federal Hazard Communication Standard, which is also known as the “Right-To-Know” law. Over and above the Federal standard, individual states may impose additional requirements. Currently, about 40 states have their own “Right-to-know” laws.

OSHA requires all workplaces where employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals to have a written plan on how the standard will be implemented in that facility.

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

Given the individual state requirements, the complexities of modern industrial processes, and the wide variety of chemicals that are in use, the details of a HAZCOM program can vary greatly from facility to facility. However, in general a HAZCOM program will have the following basic sections:

Inventory and audit

  • Information about chemicals
  • Where they are stored
  • Amounts and how they are used

Identification (labels and labeling)

  • Chemicals, containers, and the areas the chemicals
    are used in must be identified and clearly
  • Labels must include handling instructions including
    personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to
    handle the chemicals.

  • Labels must also indicate prominently health, fire and
    other reactive hazards associated
    with the chemicals.
  • Additionally, specific and detailed information
    about each chemical must be available to employees
    including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)
    provided by the manufacturers of the chemicals.

Employee training and education

  • The rights employees have under the “Right to
    know” legislation.
  • Hazardous materials used in the facility,
    especially, those the employee may come in contact
  • Information sources about chemicals including
  • The general uses and characteristics of the types
    of chemicals used.

  • Safety precautions and personal protective clothing
    (PPE) requirements.

  • Emergency and accident procedures.

Some HAZCOM (Right-to-know) related training material we offer:
Right To Know – List of Products
Right-To-Know for Auto Service Facilities Regulatory Compliance Kit DVD/VHS
Right-To-Know for Building & Construction Companies Regulatory Compliance Kit DVD/VHS
Right-To-Know for Cleaning & Maintenance Operations Regulatory Compliance Kit DVD/VHS
Right-To-Know for Healthcare Facilities Regulatory Compliance Kit DVD/VHS
Right-To-Know for the Hospitality Industry Regulatory Compliance Kit DVD/VHS
Right-To-Know for Industrial Facilities Regulatory Compliance Kit DVD/VHS