Hazard Communications

General Requirements
OSHA requires that every employee be given information on the hazards of all chemicals with which he/she works. Information includes the chemical, physical and biological hazards of the material, ways to protect one’s self from those hazards, and information on what to do if exposure occurs. OSHA requires certain informastion be put on the labels of all hazardous chemicals, and a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) containing all critical information be provided by the manufacturer and be made readily available to all employees.

Each employee must be given training on understanding the chemicals in the work place; the training must be specific to the chemical and presented at a level which each employee can understand. Training must be updated s new chemicals or processes are introduced into the workplace.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200 for General Industry
OSHA 29 CFR 1926.59 for Construction

Keys to Compliance for Supervisors

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. MSDSs are difficult to understand. Who can help us understand them?
A. The manufacturer or the distributor. Any EHS employee can assist, and provide a written guide of the terms frequently used in the MSDS.

Q. What if I don’t have an MSDS for a chemical we use?
A. You must obtain a copy, either from the manufacturer / distributor of from EHS. Ready access by your employees is an OSHA requirement.

Q. I buy certain chemicals in bulk, and transfer them to smaller containers. Does the smaller container need to be labeled?
A. Yes! You may be able to order extra labels from the manufacturer. If not, you can make copies of the label and affix them to the new container. Just make sure the copy is waterproof or solvent-proof, as appropriate. A permanent pen may also be used to write on the container.

Q. How often do I need to train my employees about hazardous chemicals?
A. Whenever you introduce a new chemical to the workplace, or you change the way a standard chemical is being used.

Links to written programs, further information