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."
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
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.
- 29 CFR 1910.1200 - hazard communication
Other applicable general industry standards that may apply:
- 29 CFR 1910.132 - personal protective equipment, general requirements
- 29 CFR 1910.133 - eye and face protection
- 29 CFR 1910.134 - respiratory protection
- 29 CFR 1910.138 - hand protection
Maritime, Shipyard Employment
29 CFR 1915.1200 - hazard communication
Other applicable maritime standards that may apply:
- 29 CFR 1915.152 - personal protective equipment - general requirements
- 29 CFR 1915.153 - eye and face protection
- 29 CFR 1915.154 - respiratory protection
- 29 CFR 1926.59 - hazard communication
Other applicable construction standards that may apply:
- 29 CFR 1926.28 - personal protective equipment
- 29 CFR 1926.95 - criteria for personal protective equipment
- 29 CFR 1926.102 - eye and face protection
- 29 CFR 1926.103 - respiratory protection
- 29 CFR 1928.21(a)(5) - hazard communication
OSHA Standards that reference the hazard communication standard:
- 29 CFR 1920.120 - HAZWOPER
- 29 CFR 1910.252 - welding, cutting and brazing, general requirements
- 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Z - toxic and hazard substances (most of the health standards)
- 29 CFR 1926.60 - methylenedianline
- 29 CFR 1926.62 - lead
- 29 CFR 1926.65 - HAZWOPER
- 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Z - toxic and hazard substances (most of the health standards)
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 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 Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, includes requirements for hazard communication along with many other construction industry standards.
Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, includes requirements for hazard communication along with many other general industry standards.
Industry Guide 50 - OSHA Agriculture Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training includes requirements for the hazard communication standard along with other agriculture standards.
Industry Guide 53 - OSHA Shipyard Employment Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, highlights the requirements of standards related to hazard communication in shipyard employment.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-707-7876.