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Alameda County, CA,
Employee Safety

Hazard Communication

Every day, employees work with or are incidentally exposed to hazardous substances that can harm their health or cause other safety hazards. In response to this, Cal/OSHA enacted the Hazard Communication (HazCom) standard which requires that every workplace develop a program that addresses the potential hazards associated with hazardous substances found in the workplace. This is also known as the Employees’ Right to Know standard.

The program requires that both employers and employees know how to identify potentially hazardous substances, understand the health hazards associated with the chemicals, and follow safe work practices. Employers who tailor their program to meet the specific needs of their workplace will maximize the benefits of workplace safety.

The written HazCom program must describe the persons responsible for implementing, maintaining, and periodically reviewing the program and the procedures for meeting all the requirements of the standard, including:

  • A list of all hazardous substances in the workplace
  • Material Safety Data Sheet for each hazardous material listed/used in the workplace
  • Methods for employee training and awareness
  • Labels and hazard warning information system


  • A sample written plan (PDF - 158kb)* is available through the Risk Management website. For assistance in customizing it to your Agency/Department, please contact Alma Balmes, Risk Analyst / Safety Program Manager at 510-272-6698 or tie-line 2-6698.
  • Training classes at your Agency/Department are available through the Risk Management Unit. Please contact Alma Balmes, Risk Analyst / Safety Program Manager at 510-272-6698 or tie-line 2-6698.

On-line Resources:

* Portable Document Format (PDF) file requires the free Adobe Reader.

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