What is a Hazard Communication Plan?
A hazard communication plan ensures workplace safety from any hazardous chemicals. The checklist contains the propel labeling of containers. It also provides steps on how to train employees of the dangers of these chemicals.
A hazard communication standard is required if harmful chemicals are present in the workplace. The staff should classify and label each chemical. There should also be safety data sheets in place. Workers should be aware that they are exposed to these chemicals.
Employees should have proper training as well on how to handle and dispose of these chemicals. Then, they will be able to take the necessary precautions every time they come in contact with them.
As an employer you should also regularly check and update their written hazard communication program.
This article covers the following topics:
What are the Different Types of Hazard Classifications?
A chemical belongs to a certain type of hazard. Manufacturers, distributors, and employers must know how to classify harmful substances.
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) uses three hazard classes — physical, health, and environmental hazard. Each class is then divided into different severity levels.
Chemicals that cause irreversible damage to the skin belong to this category. So are those that cause skin irritation. Some elements or products that fall under this class are:
- Flammable gases and aerosols
- Pressurised or oxidising gases
- Flammable solids and liquids
- Organic peroxides
Health hazards are chemicals that pose a danger to human health. Harmful effects can be mild irritation to the skin. They can also cause chronic disease of the lungs, heart, and other organs.
Environmental hazards are also called biological hazards. These substances can cause adverse health effects to people when eaten or inhaled. These include fungi, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. They can cause infections or poison the body when mishandled.
The GHS created a simple step-by-step evaluation process of classification. The process ensures proper and thorough handling of these substances.
Organizations need not test the substance to find out its components. They need to consult scientific studies to find out whether a substance is hazardous or not.
If the chemical meets the definition of what hazardous is, they should do the following steps:
- They should classify what type of hazard it is.
- They should put the correct label on the container.
- The label should show what type of hazard it is and the severity of its effects.
How to Have an Effective Hazard Communication Program?
Any workplace that carries toxic substances should have a written hazardous communication program. This is an important part if you want to fulfill your hazard communication plan 100 Percent.
There should be safety data sheets for each chemical. Employees whose tasks expose them to these hazardous materials should receive proper training.
Below are the steps needed to have a successful hazard communication program checklist.
1. STEP: Identifying and Appointing a Responsible Person
Employers should become familiar with the provisions required by law. Organizations should assign a dedicated person to oversee and implement the program.
The person overseeing the program should then assign people to be responsible for each specific activity, such as training.
2. STEP: Create and Implement a Written Hazardous Plan
Employers must ensure that the company complies with the provision in a systematic way. The hazard communication program checklist should show a comprehensive list of all the hazardous chemicals present in the workplace. It allows you to monitor the safety data sheet. It also helps you properly label each specific toxic chemical.
3. STEP: Label All Containers Accordingly
Manufacturers of hazardous chemicals are required by law to label each product. The label should contain the following information:
- Precautionary statements
- Product identifiers
- Hazard statements, and
- The name and contact number of the responsible party.
Employers should also properly label the containers of these hazardous materials. And employees should have ready access to complete information about these chemicals.
4. STEP: Maintain Safety Data Sheets
Safety data sheets contain detailed information about the harmful chemical. Copies of this information should be in the workplace, especially during working hours. Furthermore, workers should be able to access them when needed.
The safety data sheets can either be in a binder or as a digital copy. If it is digitally stored, make sure that there is a backup system in place. But a hard copy should be immediately available to medical personnel during an emergency.
5. STEP: Train Employees
If hazardous chemicals are present in the workplace, employees should be informed and trained how to handle and dispose them.
Adequate training should be provided even before they start their work assignment. Workers should be aware that they are handling toxic substances. The same process should also be used every time a new chemical is added to the workplace.
6. STEP: Regular Evaluation of the Program
Although this is not a requirement, regularly review and evaluate your hazard communication program checklist. It ensures that your program is still relevant and effective.
A digital solution for the hazard communication plan
Safety officers must ensure that companies are and remain compliant with chemical handling and storage regulations. Maintaining compliance and detecting problems requires regular inspections and extensive documentation, which can be costly and time-consuming in the long run. Lumiform, the flexible, powerful mobile inspection app, helps safety managers proactively identify violations and properly document issues found. With Lumiform on your mobile devices, you’ll be able to:
- With Lumiform’s flexible form builder, you can turn any individual paper list into a digital checklist without much effort.
- Take photos of issues and annotate them with the mobile app.
- Remedy violations immediately by assigning remedies from the app in real time.
- Schedule regular inspections and get notified of missed/incomplete inspections.
- Generate automatic paperless reports after each inspection that you can send immediately. Save time and reduce costs by doing so.
- Analyze inspection results with desktop software and identify trends based on the information you collect.
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