In 1994, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), released the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The standard was released by OSHA to ensure that employees and employers have the right-to-know about the potential hazards are chemicals they may be exposed to in the workplace.


The HCS ensures that all information about the potential hazards and the appropriate protective measures are disseminated. This is accomplished by making it mandatory for both chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards and the chemicals that they produce and import, and to provide information about the chemicals/hazards through labels on the shipped containers and information on the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS/SDS).


However, with the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), there was a written modification to the existing standard. What is now known as the Hazard Communication Standard 2012 or HazCom 2012, is now consistent with the provisions of the GHS. There have been some minor changes in the terminology used, to help that standard align with the GHS, for example, the term “hazard determination” has been changed to “hazard classification”, and “Material Safety Data Sheet” is now known as “Safety Data Sheet”. The new standard, unlike the 1994 standard that provides guidance for defining the hazards and for performing hazard determinations, does not specify and approach or format to follow.