Enforcement citations FY 2018: 3,773

Number of inspections: 2,085

Proposed penalties: $4,348,673

Most frequently cited industries

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Other Services (except Public Administration)
  • Accommodation and food services
  • Wholesale Trade

Enforcement case study

A Florida property maintenance company received $94,415 in penalties after a November 29, 2018 report stating an employee suffered burn injuries at a McDavid, Florida worksite.

According to an investigation completed by OSHA, the owner of L.A. Disaster Relief and Property Maintenance LLC directed the injured employee to ignite wood and debris inside an air burn box using a torch and gasoline, which caused an explosion.

The report states OSHA cited L.A. Disaster Relief and Property Maintenance for failing to implement a hazard communication program to familiarize employees with flammable and combustible dust hazards.

OSHA Jacksonville Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez said, “This owner’s intentional disregard of the manufacturers’ safety instructions and failure to take proper safety measures resulted in serious injuries to an employee.”

According to OSHA, L.A. Disaster Relief and Property Maintenance had 15 business days from the receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. This update will also help reduce trade barriers and result in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals while providing cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard.

 In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of such information:

  • Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
  • All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard

  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Hazard communication requirements

As of June 1, 2015, the HCS requires new Safety Data Sheets to be in a uniform format, and include the section numbers, the headings, and associated information under the headings below:

  • Section 1, Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.
  • Section 2, Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.
  • Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.
  • Section 4, First-aid measures includes important symptoms/effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.
  • Section 5, Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.
  • Section 6, Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.
  • Section 7, Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.
  • Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the SDS where available as well as appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Section 9, Physical and chemical properties lists the chemical's characteristics.
  • Section 10, Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.
  • Section 11, Toxicological information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

Key Hazard Communication standard takeaways

(a) Purpose

(a)(2) This occupational safety and health standard is intended to address comprehensively the issue of classifying the potential hazards of chemicals, and communicating information concerning hazards and appropriate protective measures to employees, and to preempt any legislative or regulatory enactments of a state, or political subdivision of a state, pertaining to this subject. Classifying the potential hazards of chemicals and communicating information concerning hazards and appropriate protective measures to employees, may include, for example, but is not limited to, provisions for: developing and maintaining a written hazard communication program for the workplace, including lists of hazardous chemicals present; labeling of containers of chemicals in the workplace, as well as of containers of chemicals being shipped to other workplaces; preparation and distribution of safety data sheets to employees and downstream employers; and development and implementation of employee training programs regarding hazards of chemicals and protective measures. 

(b) Scope and application.

This section requires chemical manufacturers or importers to classify the hazards of chemicals which they produce or import, and all employers to provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed, by means of a hazard communication program, labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and information and training. In addition, this section requires distributors to transmit the required information to employers. (Employers who do not produce or import chemicals need only focus on those parts of this rule that deal with establishing a workplace program and communicating information to their workers.)

Compliance resources

The following references aid in complying with the hazard communication standard.

  • Hazard Communication: A Review of the Science Underpinning the Art of Communication for Health and Safety. OSHA, (1997, May 23). Reviews the scientific literature on issues related to effective communication in support of ongoing work internationally to develop a harmonized system of hazard communication. OSHA contracted with the University of Maryland to provide this report which includes their analysis of the literature, as well as an extensive bibliography on this subject.
  • Hazard Communication (HazCom) Final Rule Single Source Page. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Provides information and resources regarding HazCom for the mining industry.
  • Chemical Safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic. Contains several useful links on the topic of hazard communication.
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (2005, September). Provides a source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals/classes for workers, employers, and occupational health professionals.
  • Master Index of Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (1998, August 13). Summarizes information on permissible exposure limits, chemical and physical properties, and health hazards.