The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) was written and enacted in 1983 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and is enforced in the State of Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (WI Statues 101.055). It 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 non-laboratory work areas.
In March 2012, the Hazard Communication Standard was revised to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals also known as GHS. The changes will be fully implemented in 2016. The revised standard requires the manufacturer or importer of chemicals to classify their chemicals according to their physical and health hazards, establish specific formatted shipping labels with the chemical identity, pictograms, signal works, precautionary statements, hazard statements and the manufacturer name, address and phone number as well as create a 16 section Safety Data Sheet (SDS) formerly Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each chemical.
There are six elements of the HCS and GHS: hazard determination and classification, chemical inventory, labeling, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), employee training & written program.