Posted on: February 15, 2024

The Importance of Proper Chemical Labeling

The Importance of Proper Chemical Labeling

From the sulfuric acid used in our car batteries to the pesticides used in our yards, chemicals play a vital role in our everyday lives. However, with their numerous benefits come inherent risks, especially when chemicals are labeled incorrectly. In this article, we will go over OSHA’s labeling requirements and how they benefit you.


The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is a set of standards designed to inform workers about chemical hazards on the job. It mandates that companies have proper container labeling and safety data sheets explaining potential hazards and emergency procedures.

Hazard Communication, also called HAZCOM for short, educates employees on the proper handling of hazardous chemicals and waste to prevent injury and property damage. The training aims to educate employees on how to label, identify, and manage said materials.

What Are HAZCOM Labeling Requirements?

HAZCOM labeling aims to simplify information and provide workers with the necessary tools for safe handling and emergency protocols when working with toxic chemicals. The OSHA Laboratory Standard mandates:

  • Labeling all containers containing chemicals, even if they are transparent liquids
  • Chemical labels on new containers must contain all necessary information
  • Creating and maintaining new labels for incoming containers
  • Absolutely no defacement on any labels

The rule is that if a container appears to contain a chemical, its contents must be labeled. Proper chemical labeling notifies workers about potential hazards, reduces unknowns, and allows for emergency responses like spill cleanup and medical care.

What Is the Employer's Responsibility for HAZCOM Labels? 

Even though chemical manufacturers provide labels for hazardous chemicals, employers are still responsible for maintaining labels on containers and communicating new dangers to the workforce.

Signs, placards, process sheets, batch tickets, operating rules, or other written materials can all be used in the workplace labeling system as long as they sufficiently identify and convey the hazards to personnel who use them.

They must also ensure that any new hazards not listed on the current label are communicated. As part of the HCS, all organizations must have a written program that outlines their intentions to address workplace chemical hazards and inform employees, supporting employee health and safety.

Above all, staff must be trained to read, understand, and respond to the information on the labels of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This is especially true for internal labeling that may deviate from the usual standard. When new risks are uncovered, new labels should be created, and more training should be provided.

HAZCOM Training

Proper chemical labeling is not just a regulatory requirement; it is a cornerstone of workplace safety. The HAZCOM Standard was designed to ensure that those who work with hazardous chemicals can do so safely. By following these steps, you can create a safer work environment and mitigate the potential dangers of working with chemicals.

Our Hazard Communication Training course can give you the knowledge as well as the skills required to ensure HAZCOM compliance within your company. Making sure your staff is well-trained in HAZCOM requirements reduces the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. A well-trained staff is more likely to recognize and mitigate chemical hazards. Check out our catalog if you want to learn more about what we offer at and get started right now!