Hazard Communication Safety Compliance

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When you are developing a Hazard Communication (HazCom) plan for your facility, OSHA requires that you incorporate a written hazard plan, safety data sheets, label all containers and develop training plans for your employees.

Global Harmonization System and Right-to-Know Regulations
The Hazard Communication standard operates on the concept that employees have a right to know what chemicals they are working with, the potential hazards of those chemicals and what measures they can take to protect themselves.


OSHA’s HazCom standard requires employers to:

  • Have SDS (Safety Data Sheets) on file for each hazardous chemical available
  • Train employees about potential hazards
  • Have a written hazard communication program for employees and visitors
  • Properly label hazardous chemical containers
  • Maintain reports, records and logs about the entire program
  • Report this information to a state agency (if required by your state)

For more about HazCom, visit OSHA’s website or download our step-by-step guide:

5 Steps to a Hazard Communications Program.

Global Harmonization System Identification
GHS (HCS 1910.1200) is a UN approved universal communication system for the handling of potentially hazardous materials.
It is designed to protect employees from the health and physical hazards of workplace chemicals.

Learn More About GHS

There are six components important to GHS labels:

  • One-word hazard level. For example, “Danger”
  • Hazard pictograms
  • Product name or identifier. For example, “Carbon Monoxide”
  • Hazard statements
  • Precautionary statements
  • Manufacturing information


Right-to-Know Identification
Aside from the Global Harmonization System, Right-to-Know hazard communication has two primary types of visuals used to identify dangerous materials.

The visuals used for RTK is the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Diamond and the HMIG (Hazardous Material Identification Guide) Color Bar.

The NFPA Diamond rates hazards for different categories organized by color.NFPA Diamond
Each category includes a numerical rating (0-4) that identifies severity, with “0” being least severe and “4” being the most.

The exception is the “specific hazard” rating which is represented by a symbol.

Similarly, the HMIG Color Bar uses the same information however; the white section is designed to identify protective equipment rather than specific hazard.


  • Health Hazard – Blue – Ranks the material’s probable severity to personal health
  • Fire Hazard – Red – Ranks the material’s susceptibility to burn
  • Instability – Yellow – Ranks the material’s ease, rate and quantity of energy release
  • Specific Hazard – White – Identifies the material’s special hazard potential or any special protection that may be required


Importance of Compliance To protect your team and comply with these regulations, proper display of highly visual, easy-to-understand hazard information at the point of need is crucial. Compliance not only helps save costs from potential downtime, fines or lawsuits, but it protects your team, facility and the environment.