The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products.
Toxic chemicals and substances pose a wide range of health risks and physical hazards such as irritation, carcinogenicity, flammability and corrosion among others.
Here are some basic tips to keep in mind when handling potentially hazardous chemicals:
- Make sure you have been properly trained in the Hazard Communication Standard.
- Identify the chemicals you are using.
- Keep an inventory of all chemicals being stored at your workplace. Be sure to list the quantities, storage location and storage method.
- Ask your chemical supplier for Safety Data Sheets and keep them on hand for reference.
- Label all containers with the name, concentration, manufacturing date and information on the hazards associated with the chemical being stored.
- Identify safe uses of chemicals including handling instructions, necessary protective equipment, mixing instructions and washing instructions in the case of spills or skin contact.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke near chemicals.
- Store chemicals with other similar-type chemicals.