HazCom: What it is and Where it Came From
Many years ago in what now seems to like a previous life, an alleged physic told me that I was a modern day alchemist. Since I did not know what an alchemist was, I asked a friend what that word meant. His answer was someone who studies or practices alchemy. You have to love answers like that, absolutely correct and to point of the matter while totally devoid of any means to reveal useful knowledge.
Now, I can tell you the term HazCom is an abbreviated form of Hazard Communication Standard148and is used as a reference to anything that pertains to the Hazard Communication Standard. But unless you have an understanding of what the Hazard Communication Standard is, well, thats about as useful as my friends answer was. Had I known what alchemy was, I would not have had any need to ask what an alchemist was.
In December of 1970, Congress passed and President Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This action gave birth to a new federal regulatory agency that was christened with name of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration149 or OSHA. The stated purpose of this act and thus its child agency is:
To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes.
Five months later, the newly created OSHA adopted the first standards to provide a baseline of safety and health protection in American workplaces. In the fall of 1983, The Hazard Communication Standard was enacted to provide information, labeling and training to promote the safe use of hazardous substances in the manufacturing industry sector. Then later, in the summer of 1987, other industries were included under its umbrella. As it stands today, this standard is applicable to almost every workplace.
The Hazard Communication Standard applies to any hazardous substance that is known to be present in the work place, which employees may be exposed to under normal conditions of use or in a reasonably foreseeable emergency. Hazardous substances are defined as any substances that present either a physical or a health hazard.
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