Implementing Hazard Communication (HazCom)
Proactively catch and immediately address non-compliance
Digital tool to effectively implement hazard communication
Published March 26th, 2020
What is Hazard Communication?
Hazard communication (HazCom) is the implementation of procedures and processes to ensure that chemical hazards and their corresponding safety measures are effectively communicated in the workplace. Per OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), chemical manufacturers and importers, as well as employers that have hazardous chemicals in the workplace, are required to label hazardous chemicals, use Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and train employees to properly handle chemicals. Failure to implement HazCom in compliance with OSHA HCS can result in costly fines, negative impact to company reputation, and health issues.
This article features (1) steps to effectively implement HazCom; (2) a digital tool that can help safety managers proactively catch and address hazards and non-compliance; and (3) free digital templates you can browse and download to help implement HazCom in the workplace.
3 Steps to Effectively Implement a Hazard Communication Program
One of the most cited among OSHA violations, it is important to properly implement HazCom to avoid penalties. Here are 3 steps to help execute an effective HazCom in any organization (adapted from OSHA’s guidelines for compliance):
- Build a team and review the standard
• Create a team that will write the HazCom plan and implement the program based on OSHA’s HCS. The team should ideally be composed of employees from multiple departments familiar with the chemicals in the workplace and the processes that may expose employees to chemical hazards.
- Implement with employee buy-in
• HazCom will not be effective without employee buy-in. Get employee buy-in by educating the employees on the importance of HazCom and the consequences of non-compliance. Teach new employees about HazCom during onboarding and provide refresher trainings to more tenured employees, especially if there are updates to the standard.
• Employee turnover will not negatively impact HazCom as long as employees are continuously made aware of its implementation and key persons responsible are assigned
- Continuously reinforce implementation
• Ensure continuous proper implementation of HazCom and proactively catch any occurence of non-compliance by conducting internal audits using digital checklists.
• Use auditing tools that can help proactively catch issues and automatically document corrective actions. Document and analyze common issues in order to improve training for employees and fine-tune business processes.
Digital Tool for Osha HCS Compliance
Safety managers and officers need to ensure that the company is compliant with OSHA HCS and continues to be so. Maintaining compliance and catching issues will require a lot of documentation and regular inspections that could be costly to maintain in the long run. iAuditor, the world’s most powerful mobile inspection app, can help safety managers proactively catch non-compliance and properly document issues found. With iAuditor on mobile devices, you are empowered to:
• Use the mobile app to take photos of issues and create annotations.
• Immediately address non-compliance by assigning corrective actions in real time.
• Schedule regular inspections and be notified of missed/incomplete inspections.
• Save time and reduce costs by automatically generating paperless reports on the spot. Preview a sample web and PDF report.
• Analyze inspection results and watch out for trends based on collected information.
• Use for free with small teams. Unlimited reports and storage for premium accounts.
The Best Digital HazCom Checklists
HazCom Compliance Checklist
HazCom helps ensure that employees are made aware of the chemical hazards present in the workplace as well as the corresponding safety measures. This HazCom compliance checklist is used by safety managers to check if the HazCom being implemented is compliant with OSHA HCS. This digitized checklist covers information dissemination and employee training, labelling, SDS, and the HazCom program. With the iAuditor app, safety managers and officers are empowered to:
- Make relevant notes to corresponding non-compliant items.
- Immediately assign corrective actions.
- Take photos of issues and submit reports using mobile devices.
- Discover areas for improvement and use the information to develop training programs.
- Customize iAuditor checklist templates to fit the needs of the business.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Checklist
This SDS checklist corresponds to the HazCom Compliance Checklist’s SDS line items. Covering all the 16 sections from identification to regulatory information, etc., use this to verify if the SDS contains adequate information for HazCom.
Chemical Safety Inspection Checklist
Use this chemical safety inspection checklist to determine if hazardous chemicals are properly labelled, handled, stored, and disposed. Help prevent incidents in the workplace by proactively catching non-compliance and taking photos to better describe issues.
Chemical Inventory Template
Use this digitized chemical inventory template to identify all chemicals that employees can get exposed to in the workplace. Enter the amount, chemical name, common name, size & type of container, CAS #, manufacturer, select the NFPA rating, health hazards, etc. All iAuditor templates can be customized according to your business needs.
Employee Training Feedback Form
Use this training feedback form to collect employee feedback on the effectivity of the training they received and use the information collected to further improve training programs.
Bonus! PPE Checklist
Wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help guard employees against the risk of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. Use this PPE checklist to conduct PPE inspections and describe the hazard, state the required PPE, and check the condition of the PPE by capturing photo evidence. Complete the inspection by providing recommendations.