US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is based on a simple concept — that employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to when working. There are an estimated 650,000 existing chemical products, and hundreds of new ones being introduced annually. This can pose a serious problem for exposed workers and their employers.

The standard itself is long and some parts are technical, but the basic concepts are simple. In fact, the requirements reflect what many employers have been doing for years. The basic goal of the standard is to be sure employers and employees know about work hazards and how to protect themselves; this should help to reduce chemical source illness and injuries.

You may find that you already largely comply with many of the provisions and will simply have to modify your existing programs somewhat. The HCS requires information to be prepared and transmitted regarding all hazardous chemicals. The HCS covers both physical hazards (such as flammability) and health hazards (such as irritation, lung damage and cancer.) Most chemicals used in the workplace have some hazard potential, and thus will be covered by the rule.

Important parts of a Hazard Communication Program at your workplace must include:

  • Labels and Other Forms of Warning –in accordance to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) – in a place accessible to all employees
  • Employee Information and Training

To ensure the safety and health of your employees, we also encourage employers to confirm that all companies contracted to perform work on-site (examples could include cleaning and pest control companies) have a Hazard Communication Program and provide you with a listing of any chemicals introduced to your employees’ work areas.

For more information and/or assistance creating or updating your Hazard Communication Program, please contact us at Safety in Paradise or visit

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