Every day at workplaces throughout California, employees work with or are incidentally exposed to hazardous substances that can harm their health or cause safety hazards. This guide is designed to help employers and employees understand the requirements of the hazard communication regulation by providing a simplified and clear overview of the major program elements.
For easy reference, this guide is separated into seven main sections:
I. Scope, which explains what employers and what types of substances are subject to the regulation, as well as the exemptions from the regulation
II. Hazard Determination, which explains how responsible parties can determine which specific substances are hazardous
III. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), which explains what an MSDS is, what categories it must include, and how this information can be used to educate employees on the hazards of chemicals
IV. Labels and Other Forms of Warning, which explains labeling requirements and the importance of implementing a visual warning system that will quickly and effectively alert employees to potentially dangerous chemicals and situations
V. Written Hazard Communication Program, which explains all the requirements of such a program
VI. Employee Information and Training, which addresses employers’ responsibilities for making sure that their employees are trained—prior to starting work—on the safe handling of hazardous substances they are or may be exposed to in their jobs and on the ways in which they can protect themselves from those hazards
VII. Trade Secret Protection, which addresses how manufacturers may comply with the regulation without revealing the specifics of a chemical compound
At the back of this guide, there are six attachments intended to further assist employers in setting up or improving an existing hazard communication program. Attachments A through D are samples of various elements of an effective written program. The basic format can be tailored to reflect your individual work site and the chemical substances found there. Attachments E and F relate to MSDS forms—how to request one from the manufacturer and what the appropriate form should look like.
Whatever the size of the facility or number of chemical hazards, it is essential that both employers and employees know how to identify potentially hazardous substances, understand the health hazards associated with these chemicals, and follow safe work practices. Every workplace which has or uses hazardous substances must have a written and effectively implemented hazard communication program that specifically addresses the potential hazards found at that particular site.
Click Guide to Hazardous Communications by Cal Osha May 2012 to see complete guide.
The Guide to the California Hazard Communication Regulation was developed by the Education Unit, Cal/OSHA Consultation Service, California Department of Industrial Relations. The document was prepared for publication by the staff of CDE Press, California Department of Education. It was distributed under the provisions of the Library Distribution Act and Government Code Section 11096. First Published 2000 by the California Department of Industrial Relations.
This guide is not meant to be substitute for—or a legal inter- pretation of—the occupational safety and health standards. The reader is cautioned to refer directly to the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, or the Labor Code for detailed and exact information, specifications, and exceptions.