Important HazCom Standards

Two important OSHA standards for anyone working with hazardous chemicals, such as acids and caustics to be aware of, are 29 CFR 1910.1200, the revised Hazard Communication Standard, and 1910.120, Hazardous waste operations and emergency response.

OH&S is reporting that those training workers to handle such chemicals also need to be familiar with them.

The revised HazCom standard has been aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS. The standard covers the issue of classifying potential hazards of chemicals and communicating information about their hazards and appropriate protective measures to workers.

The HAZWOPER standard applies to cleanups done at hazardous waste sites and specifies that employers involved in these must develop and implement a written safety and health program that identifies, evaluates, and controls safety and health hazards and also provides for emergency response for the hazardous waste operations performed. Medical surveillance and training are required elements of the written plan.

A key section of the latter is 1910.120(c)(7), which concerns risk identification. It says employees must be informed about any risks that have been identified from specific hazardous substances, but for situations covered by the HazCom standard, training it requires does not have to be repeated.

Risks that employers should consider, 1910.120(c)(7) says, include:

  • exposures that exceed PELs and published exposure levels
  • IDLH concentrations
  • potential skin absorption and irritation sources
  • potential eye irritation sources
  • explosion potential
  • oxygen deficiency.

The revised HCS standard spells out how to maintain a written HazCom program, how to properly label containers of chemicals and chemical containers that will be shipped to other sites, both preparing and distributing Safety Data Sheets to employees and downstream companies, and employee training programs.