Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course OSHA Hazard Communication and Chemical Hygiene for Healthcare Personnel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), also known as Haz-Com or the Right-to-Know Law, is an OSHA regulation that controls workplace exposure to chemicals. HCS requires chemical manufacturers to determine the health hazards and physical hazards of each product they produce. They must let users know about those hazards through the use of:
  • GHS-compliant labels
    • Which include signal words, pictograms, and hazard statements for each hazard class and category as well as precautionary statements
  • Safety data sheets (SDSs)
    • Which include the standardized 16-section format
The principle and importance of the HCS or Haz-Com standard, is to establish awareness of the hazardous chemicals and drugs that healthcare employees may be exposed to while working. Chemicals utilized in various types of healthcare settings include those which can involve potentially serious health hazards as well as produce physical hazards, such as fires and explosions.
A hazardous chemical, as defined by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), is any chemical which can cause a physical or a health hazard. This determination is made by the chemical manufacturer, as described in the HCS (29 CFR 1910.1200(d)).