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Chemical Risk Assessments

Identify, evaluate, and control risks associated with hazardous chemicals in your workplace. Compliance Specialist Brian McFadden breaks down the five steps to a successful Chemical Risk Assessment. Understand regulations and standards that may apply to your facility and visual signals that will help provide information your workers and customers need to stay safe.

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Last presented on: 04 24, 2019

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Contents of the Chemical Risk Assessment webinar:

  • Understand the Rules
  • Create a List
  • Identify the Hazards
  • Evaluate the Risks
  • Assign Controls
  • Document the Assessment
  • Visual Communication for Chemical Safety
  • Maintaining and Managing Chemical Safety


Excerpt from the Chemical Risk Assessment webinar transcript:

Understand the Rules

Before you jump into an assessment, you need some preparation. The first step here is identifying and understanding the specific rules that apply in your circumstances.

Some of the most important guidelines for talking about chemical hazards come from the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or more simply, GHS. This international standard is maintained by the United Nations, and it offers a consistent and comprehensive way to describe many of the dangers that could be posed by a chemical. The GHS approach also includes standardized labeling and documentation for chemicals, which will be very helpful in the later steps of the Chemical Risk Assessment. If you’re not already familiar with the GHS approach, take a look at our free guide to GHS, available at

Once you have that foundation, you’re ready for the legal requirements. In the United States, there are different rules that may come into play, depending on what the material is, and where it is. For example:

  • Hazardous chemicals in a workplace are generally covered by OSHA’s workplace safety regulations. One of OSHA’s most important rules here is the Hazard Communication Standard (or HazCom) — which is based on GHS.
  • Hazardous chemicals that are being transported from one facility to another will probably be covered by rules from the Department of Transportation (or DOT).
  • If you produce chemicals as consumer products, then they need to be labeled and packaged according to the rules from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (or CPSC).
  • For cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food ingredients, the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) takes over.
  • For waste chemicals, like expended solvents, the Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) will have governing regulations.

In addition to these federal rules, state or local regulations may also apply. In many cases, there are rules that apply to specific chemicals or hazards. For example, OSHA has many material-specific rules (mostly in 29 CFR section 1910, subparts H and Z).

Of course, outside the United States, other countries’ laws will be more relevant; there may even be international rules to consider. If your chemicals are going to Europe, for example, then a series of European Union regulations will probably be involved, including REACH and CLP. These rules often call back to the GHS approach, so that foundation will be very helpful for international compliance.

To get tips on how to identify, evaluate, and control the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in your workplace, watch the full webinar on demand now!

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Chemical Risk Assessments Webinar