Hazard communication


The Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), sometimes called the HazCom standard, is a set of requirements first issued in 1983 by OSHA. The standard requires evaluating the potential hazards of chemicals, and communicating information concerning those hazards and appropriate protective measures to employees. The HazCom standard includes provisions for:

  • developing and maintaining a written hazard communication program for the workplace, including lists of hazardous chemicals present;
  • labeling of containers of chemicals in the workplace, as well as of containers of chemicals being shipped to other workplaces;
  • preparation and distribution of safety data sheets (SDSs) to workers and downstream employers; and
  • development and implementation of worker training programs regarding hazards of chemicals and protective measures.

This regulation requires manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals to provide safety data sheets to users of the chemicals describing potential hazards and other information. They must also attach hazard warning labels to containers of the chemicals.

Employers must make MSDSs available to workers. They must also train their workers in the hazards caused by the chemicals workers are exposed to and the appropriate protective measures that must be used when handling the chemicals.


This publication was prepared for environmental, health and safety staff at University of Wisconsin System campuses, to assist in finding resources and information for regulatory compliance. It is not intended to render legal advice.
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