The requirements for labeling hazardous chemicals have been revised by OSHA under its updated Hazard Communication Standard (also called HCS).

 The updating of the HCS by incorporating the labeling requirements of the Globally Harmonized System of Classifying and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) has been performed by OSHA to align the HCS standard to international standards while ensuring improved consistency and quality in the labeling of all chemicals.

 Labels are critical tools for communicating hazard information to workers and employers, and the more they convey the information clearly and comprehensively the more they help in preventing workplace exposures, accidents, injuries and illnesses associated with hazardous chemicals.

 The benefits of the improved labels include:

  • Provide immediate and powerful visual reminders of chemical hazards
  • Better worker comprehension of hazards involved in handling, using and storing of various chemicals
  • Decreased risks of exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Easier training of workers on precautionary and remedial measures to exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Reduced workplace injuries and illnesses related to accidental exposures to hazardous chemicals
  • Greater productivity and increased savings
  • Enhanced international trade on hazardous chemicals

What Is a Hazcom Label?

According to the HCS, a label is an appropriate group of printed, written or graphic information elements about a hazardous chemical, which is affixed, printed or attached to the actual container or the outside packaging of the hazardous chemical.

OSHA’s HCS requires chemical suppliers and manufacturers to label, tag or mark every container of hazardous chemical before dispatching or selling for use in the workplace. A standard Hazcom label must have:

  • Product identifier
  • Signal word
  • Hazard Statement (s)
  • Precautionary Statement (s)