The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS):

  • Gives you the right to know the hazards of materials with which you work.
  • Prescribes to employers their duties on your behalf.
  • Provides information requirements for manufacturers (of hazardous materials).
Many states have related laws that also apply. You don't have to know these laws unless your job responsibilities include HCS compliance (i.e., you're the safety director).

Your role in HCS covers two areas:

  1. Training. Your employer is required to help you learn about any hazardous material you work with, including applicable emergency procedures.
  2. Reading. You're required to read product container labels and MSDS, but your reason for reading them should be to understand what the hazards are and how to protect yourself from them.
Don't use these resources as a means of identifying what PPE is not necessary. Conditions might require PPE beyond what the label and MSDS recommend. Nobody ever lost an eye from wearing safety glasses in a non-required area.