How to Develop a Hazard Communication Program in Your Restaurant


Hazard communication programs are essential for any operation in which hazardous chemicals are used. When developing a hazard communication program for your food service operation, be sure you follow all standards set by OSHA, specifically Standard 1910.1200. This standard ensures that information regarding the hazards of any chemicals produced or imported is communicated to all workers by way of a comprehensive hazard communication program. This shall include container labeling and other warnings, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and employee training. Essentially, there must be proper labels, written warnings, MSDS and employee training in place.

What is in a Written Hazard Communication Program?

Proper Labels. Although the employer is not required to label portable containers into which hazardous chemicals have been transferred, it is helpful to appropriately label every container to provide additional information about the chemicals contained within. Signs, operating procedures or other informational material can be posted on the walls to help identify chemicals used on the premises. Appropriate hazard warnings, words, pictures, symbols to provide specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of that chemical.

Hazardous Chemicals. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), hazardous chemicals are any that could potentially cause a physical or health hazard, specifically pertaining to chemicals with carcinogens, or toxins, such as chlorine, ammonia, formaldehyde or ethanol. OSHA provides a full list of chemical types that are considered hazardous, including the following:

  • Carcinogens
  • Toxic agents
  • Reproductive toxins
  • Irritants
  • Corrosives
  • Neurotoxins
  • Agents damaging to lungs, skin, eyes or mucous membranes

Material Safety Data Sheets

MSDS Requirements. You must have a Material Safety Date Sheet (MSDS) for every hazardous chemical on the restaurant premises. When you order chemicals for the first time, the chemical manufacturer will often provide the appropriate Material Safety Data Sheet from the chemical manufacturer. Every MSDS must include the following information, in any order:

MSDS must include the following information:

  • The chemical and common names of the substance
  • Physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous ingredients (such as odor, appearance, vapor pressure)
  • Physical hazards (such as combustibility)
  • Health hazards (such as symptoms of exposure and any medical conditions exacerbated by exposure
  • Primary means of entry (such as inhalation)
  • The OSHA permissible exposure limit (such as the ACGIH Threshold Limit Value (TLV®)*)
  • Precautions for safe handling and use (regarding storage, use and disposal)
  • First aid and emergency procedures
  • The manufacturer name
  • Date the MSDS was prepared and contact information for the chemical manufacturer

MSDS are not needed for the following products:

  • Tobacco products
  • Wood or wood products (not including saw dust)
  • Typically used consumer products (such as pens or pencils)
  • Articles (such as plastic chairs)
  • Personal food, drugs or cosmetics
  • Retail food, drugs, cosmetics or alcohol
  • Drugs in solid form (such as pills)

* The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) determines that exposure to a chemical at or below its TLV® will not create unreasonable risk of injury or illness.

Employee Training

Since OSHA standards mandate employee training within a hazard communication program, you need to implement training procedures in your restaurant. The best way to do this is to introduce all new employees to the chemicals you have on hand, procedures for how to use them safely, and how to use the material safety data sheets in case of a crisis. Make sure the following training points are included in all employee training:

Teach employees to use MSDS. First off, teach your employees where to find the MSDS. In a critical situation, they need to know where the MSDS is located, how to look up the chemical in question, and how to read the chemical information.
Point out labels and posters. All original containers should be labeled appropriately, identifying the chemical inside. Be sure all employees know how to read and understand the chemical information on the label, as well as any procedures or warnings on the posters.
Demonstrate proper use. Perhaps the most important part of training is the opportunity to demonstrate the correct usage of all chemicals. This is particularly important for brand new employees, but can also be a good refresher for seasoned employees.


About Author


  1. Excellent pieces. Keep writing such kid of information on your
    blog. Im really impressed by it.
    Hey there, You have performed a great job. I will certainly digg it and in my view suggest to my friends.
    I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  2. Hello there I am so grateful I found your webpage, I
    really found you by accident, while I was researching on Digg
    for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a fantastic
    post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at
    the moment but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read much more,
    Please do keep up the superb job.

  3. Every weekend i used tto pay a visit this web site, for tthe reason that i wish for enjoyment,
    for the reason that this this web page conations actually nice funny data too.

  4. Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your website is useful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. I like what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve included you guys to my blogroll.

  6. May I just say what a relief to uncover someone that actually understands what
    they are talking about on the internet. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it
    important. A lot more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised you are not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.

  7. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different web page
    and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.

    Look forward to looking over your web page again.

Leave A Reply