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OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard

If you work in a business that uses potentially toxic or otherwise hazardous chemical materials in Iowa, you will want to have a good understanding of how your employer is supposed to help keep you safe from job accidents involving these substances. 

As explained by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has what it calls a Hazard Communication Standard. This policy is in alignment with the agency's Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals so that there is consistency in how hazardous or toxic materials are labeled and how workers are educated about them. Special data sheets are required to include 16 different sections giving information about a particular substance. Labels are also legally mandated and employers must provide training to workers on the data sheets, labels and the handling of all substances.

For the benefit of any customers as well as employees, companies that manufacture or import chemicals are also supposed to prepare materials that inform people about the health and physical risks associated with them. Labels may include visual as well as text details and must provide materials for any substance in a unique hazard class as different substances are classified differently. Employee training must also include details about any chemical in the area in which the employees work.

If you would like to learn more about OSHA's requirements for communication and training employees and customers about potentially hazardous materials, please feel free to visit the Hazard Communication Standard page of our Iowa workplace safety website.