Chemicals have become an important element of almost every aspect of modern life. All of these chemicals-from cleaning fluids to pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and paints-are produced in workplaces, and may be used in workplaces downstream. While these chemicals have utility and benefits in their applications, they also have the potential to cause adverse effects. These adverse effects include both health hazards (such as carcinogenicity and sensitization), and physical hazards (for example, flammability and reactivity properties). In order to protect workers from these effects-and to reduce the occurrence of chemical source illnesses and injuries- employers need information about the hazards of the chemicals they use, as well as recommended protective measures. Workers have both a right and a need to know this information too, especially so that they can take steps to protect themselves when necessary. No one knows exactly how many chemicals may be present in American workplaces. The total number of chemical substances that have been developed and registered in the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry reached 60 million in 2011-the last 10 million of those were added in less than two years. Many of them involve innovations such as the application of nanotechnology. While not all of these chemicals are produced commercially today, this vast number indicates the scope of the potential problems in workplaces with regard to the safe use of chemicals. In addition, most chemical substances are formulated into mixtures for use in the workplace. Therefore, the number of unique chemical mixtures is far greater than the number of substances, and most workers are exposed to mixtures. The scope of workplaces in which chemical exposures occur is also very broad. While most people can readily associate working in a chemical manufacturing plant as being a job that involves chemical exposures, there are many other types of facilities where such usage is also commonplace. For example, construction workers may be exposed to paints, lacquers, thinners, asphalt fumes, or crystalline silica. Hair stylists are exposed to chemical dyes and other hair products that contain hazardous chemicals. All of these types of exposures are of concern in terms of protecting workers, and ensuring that chemicals are used safely. This guide is intended to help small employers comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).