​​Hazard Communication

The Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) is based on a simple concept that employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals that they are exposed to when working in occupational environments. The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point follows the requirements established by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (SPS 335.001 to 02) as adopted from the rules issued by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200).

The standard aligns with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (also known as GHS) and provides more concise information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. The standard is aimed at reducing potential for the occurrence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries by providing a common and coherent international approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information.

              Health Hazard                                                 Flame

Health Hazard        Flame

  • Carcinogen                                            - Flammables
  • Mutagenicity                                          - Pyrophorics
  • Reproductive Toxicity                            - Self-Heating
  • Respiratory Sensitizer                           - Emits Flammable Gas
  • Target Organ Toxicity                            - Self-Reactives
  • Aspiration Toxicity                                 - Organic Peroxides

              Exclamation Mark                                      Gas Cylinder

Exclamation Mark         Gas Cylinder

  • Irritant (skin and eye)                            - Gases Under Pressure
  • Skin Sensitizer
  • Acute Toxicity (harmful)
  • Narcotic Effects
  • Respiratory Tract Irritant
  • Hazardous to Ozone Layer

                     Corrosion                                           Exploding Bomb

Corrosion         Exploding Bomb

  • Skin Corrosion/Burns                             - Explosives
  • Eye Damage                                          - Self-Reactives
  • Corrosive to Metals                                - Organic Peroxides

             Flame Over Circle                         Environment (Non-Mandatory)

Flame Over Circle          Environment (Non-Mandatory)

  • Oxidizers                                                  - Aquatic Toxicity

                                            Skull and Crossbones

                                 Skull and Crossbones

  •                               Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)
Apply to UW-Stevens Point


OSHA HazCom Quick Card
OSHA HazCom Fact Sheet


Steps of Effective Hazard Communication Program:

 Hazard Classification

Chemical manufacturers and importers should assess chemicals produced in their workplaces or imported by them to classify the chemicals.

University departments that produce a chemical that is from a collaborative research relationship and-or not obtained by an outside vendor, must create, develop and submit an SDS to the University's EHS chemical inventory and appropriately label the containers of the material. Also, for each chemical, the department or collaborative resource which may be defined as a chemical manufacturer or importer, should define the hazard classes and where appropriate the category of each class that apply to the chemical being classified.


 Written Hazard Communication

Departments who store, use or produce any hazardous chemicals should develop, implement, and maintain, a written hazard communication program, which at least describes labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and employee information and training. The written hazard communication program should also include the following:

  • A list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present using a product identifier that is referenced on the appropriate safety data sheet (the list may be compiled for the each workshops and/or laboratories or as a whole department); and
  • The methods that the department supervisors will use to inform employees of the hazards of non-routine tasks, and the hazards associated with chemicals contained in unlabeled pipes in their work areas.
  • The methods that the department supervisors will apply to provide the other employer(s) on-site such as contractor(s) access to safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical that they may be exposed to while working;
  • The methods that the department supervisors will apply to notify the other employer(s) of any precautionary measures that need to be taken to protect employees during the workplace's regular operating conditions and in predictable emergencies;
  • The methods that the department supervisors will utilize to inform the other employer(s) of the labeling system used in the workplace.

The departments can use Written Hazard Communication Program template to develop their departments' written  program.

 Chemical Inventory

Chemical inventories provide a record of room and building content which is vital in emergency situations as well as inventory control. Each campus department must complete and maintain a chemical inventory of hazardous substances present in their working areas and update it annually or as needed, as chemicals are disposed of or acquired. The inventory should include:

  • The chemical name as it appears on the shipping label and SDS,
  • The manufacturer's name,
  • The manufacturer's address,
  • The location of the chemical (building & room).

Also, chemical inventories must be kept with the written plan. Departments can use the online inventory system CHEMWATCH to build a department inventory folder. CHEMWATCH User Guide also available at EHS ChemWatch page.


General requirement for labeling include:

  • Labels on shipped containers: The label created and used by the manufacturer is called the shipping label. The original container must be labeled with the GHS label which includes product identifier, signal work, hazard statements, pictogram, precautionary statements, and the name, address and phone number of the manufacturer, importer or other responsible party.

    Example of a GHS Shipping Label
  • Solid materials: Whole grain, solid metal (such as a steel beam or a metal casting), solid wood, or plastic items are also required to be labeled because of their downstream use. The required label for solid materials should be transmitted at the time of the initial shipment or with the SDS which is provided prior to shipment. Also, no label needed for subsequent shipments if the information on the label does not change.
  • Workplace labeling: For secondary containers (transferred chemicals) can be labeled with either the GHS label or a label that contains the identity of the chemical and words, pictures, symbols or a combination which provides information about the physical and health hazards of the chemical. Secondary bottling, labeling and containment should be kept to a minimum as a best practice.
  • Labels to individual stationary process containers: Instead of a label, posting, process sheet, batch ticket, placard or sign may be used on stationary process containers, pipes or piping systems. The identity of the hazardous chemical and appropriate hazard warning must be included.
  • Container for use by one person: A portable container, which is filled from a labeled container for the employee's immediate use during that work shift, will be used by the same employee, will not be left unattended by that employee and will be used entirely, need not be labeled. All transfer and handling of chemicals through University hallways must be accomplished by a secondary container, either a rubber-handled container, or by a cart with sides to accommodate any spillage.

  • Never deface or remove any container labels. Ensure labels remain affixed.

  • Labels and other forms of warning must be legible, prominently displayed and in English. Employers having employees who speak other languages may add the information in their language as long as the information is presented in English as well.

  • Labeling on Chemistry and Biology lab doors is required. The labeling can be obtained from the campus Chemical Hygiene Officer, Risk Management.

 Safety Data Sheets

Chemical manufacturers and importers must obtain or develop a SDS for each hazardous chemical they produce or import in English (other languages may also be included if appropriate). SDS are detailed informational documents of hazardous chemicals which defines the physical and chemical properties of the product, and is planned to provide end users in laboratories, workers and emergency personnel with consistent and readily understandable information regarding safe procedures for handling, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill and emergency response. 

With the revised Hazard Communication Standard, SDS are standardized and presented in 16-section format that is used and recognized globally.  These 16-sections include;

Section 1, Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.

Section 2, Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.

Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.

Section 4, First-aid measures includes important symptoms/effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.

Section 5, Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.

Section 6, Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7, Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the SDS where available as well as appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9, Physical and chemical properties lists the chemical's characteristics.

Section 10, Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Section 11, Toxicological information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12, Ecological information*
Section 13, Disposal considerations*
Section 14, Transport information*
Section 15, Regulatory information*

Section 16, Other information, includes the date of preparation or last revision.

*Note: Since other Agencies regulate this information, OSHA will not be enforcing Sections 12 through 15 (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)).

All employees who work with hazardous chemicals must be able to readily access an updated SDS during each work shift from their work areas.

Electronic access and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the safety data sheets are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options. So departments may create their own SDS folder(s) on UW-Stevens Point chemical inventory online program Chemwatch which available on Risk Management home page as well as EHS ChemWatch web page.

 Employee Information And Training

Each university employee must be provided with information and training on the hazardous chemicals they work with upon their initial assignment, non-routine tasks and whenever a new chemical is introduced. The information must include any operations in their work area where hazardous chemicals are present, the location of the written hazard communication program, chemical inventory and SDS. Training for all laboratory users is available at the beginning of each semester.

Before starting to work with hazardous chemicals and whenever a new chemical is introduced, each employee must receive the following training:

  • The details of the hazard communication program, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system. Location of the written hazard communication program.
  1. How to read and interpret a SDS including the order of information and the physical as well as health hazards. Location of the SDS.
  2. How to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical and work practices that may result in exposure.
  3. The physical, health, simple asphyxiation, combustible dust, and pyrophoric gas hazards, as well as hazards not otherwise classified, of the chemicals in the work area.
  4. The measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment to be used.
  5. The details of the UW-Stevens Point hazard communication program, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used by the UW-Stevens Point; the safety data sheet, including the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information.

Training Courses

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 Image Resources: OSHA, MCAA, EHS Today