Hazard communication is a system in which employees are informed about the health and physical hazards of chemicals in their work areas through standardized label elements and safety data sheets. The responsibility lies with the employer to ensure that this is accomplished and that employees have ready access to this information. Hazard communication is often referred to as "employee right-to-know."

Hazard Communication

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What are the hazards associated with hazard communication?

Failure of the employer to inform employees about the hazards of chemicals in the workplace can result in property damage, serious physical harm and death.

What can I do to protect myself?

Before using any chemical, information on the label and accompanying information (e.g., safety data sheets) should be consulted in order to identify any personal protective equipment necessary to prevent direct contact through inhalation, splash or spatter to eyes, nose or mouth, or skin contact.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Safety and Health Programs

These example programs, hazard communication, respiratory protection and PPE and hazard analysis can assist the employer with their hazard communication program and identifying the appropriate personal protective equipment required in the workplace.

Training and Outreach Services

Presentations on hazard communication, respiratory protection, and personal protective equipment (general industry and construction) can assist employers in training their staff.  These presentations should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards. 

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. These pre-recorded webinars on hazard communication and toxic and hazardous substances can also be accessed at any time.

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

A-Z safety and health topic pages on respiratory protection, eyewash stations and emergency showers  and PPE can provide more resource information. 

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.


What standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to hazard communication in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

Other applicable general industry standards that may apply:

Maritime, Shipyard Employment

Other applicable maritime standards that may apply:


Other applicable construction standards that may apply:


OSHA Standards that reference the hazard communication standard:

General Industry


Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Compliance Documents

  • Compliance Directive: CPL 02-02-079 establishes the enforcement policy and provides an explanation of the hazard communication standard to ensure uniform enforcement.

  • A compliance memo clarifies several issues raised regarding compliance directive CPL 02-02-079 and which will be included in the next revision of this directive.

  • Field Operations Manual Chapter 15 - Industrial Hygiene Compliance provides citation guidance for hazard communication standard. 

  • Operational Procedure Notice: OPN 148 - Carbon Monoxide Exposure Documentation Guidelines provides guidance on the use of the Coburn Equation to theoretically derive an employee's exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) using their post-exposure blood carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels.

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.