Hazard communication is a requirement of state and federal law. The standard, which is also referred to as the worker right to know standard, makes sure that you know all about the possible dangers of hazardous chemicals that you may come into contact with as a healthcare worker and gives you the information to protect yourself from those hazards. Your employer is required to provide you with this information for the hazardous chemicals present in your workplace.
Why “Hazard Communication for Healthcare Workers” Matters:
- An estimated 30 million workers are exposed or potentially exposed to more than 650,000 hazardous chemicals each year.
- There are typically 20,000 incidents of exposure to hazardous chemicals annually that result in one or more lost workdays due to illnesses or injuries from these chemicals.
- Making employees aware of hazardous materials they may encounter while at work is a requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard.
- Always identify the hazards of a chemical before you start to use it.
- Read the label and the safety data sheet (SDS) for a chemical; these are the best ways to find out about hazards and what to do about them.
- Always follow the safety instructions and warnings for a chemical, and if you’re not sure what to do, ask your supervisor.
- Always use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect yourself against hazards.
- Practice sensible and safe work habits when using hazardous chemicals.
- Learn proper emergency procedures, because responding properly can help protect yourself as well as the people you work with.