Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

Hazard Communication Standard (Right to Know Law)

Chemicals present in the laboratory are considered hazardous if they are known to cause health problems, can instantaneously release pressure, if they can catch fire easily or are reactive. These chemicals have many needed uses, but must be handled p

by Other Author
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify
0:00
5:00

Chemicals present in the laboratory are considered hazardous if they are known to cause health problems, can instantaneously release pressure, if they can catch fire easily or are reactive. These chemicals have many needed uses, but must be handled properly in order to avoid harmful side effects.

The Hazard Communication Standard, or the Right to Know Law, was set forth by the Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1988. This standard requires employers to create a program which allows employees to know what the hazards are concerning the materials in the workplace.

Get training in Technical Safety Topics and earn CEUs.An IACET-accredited five-course stream in the Academy.
Technical Safety Topics Stream

The Hazard Communication Standard dictates that a written Hazard Communication Program must be kept. This program delineates requirements for labels and warnings, material safety data sheets (MSDSs), and employee information and training are set forth in the work environment.

Labels

No labels on containers of hazardous chemicals shall be defaced. In the case that a chemical is transferred from the manufacturer’s labeled container, the new container will be labeled using the Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS).

Material Safety Data Sheets

The purpose of MSDSs is to keep a record of detailed information on each hazardous chemical present in the laboratory. The information is to include any hazardous effects, physical characteristics, chemical characteristics, and any protective measures necessary for the given material. A MSDS shall be requested from the manufacturer for every hazardous chemical that has been inventoried in the laboratory. All MSDSs are to be compiled and kept available for any student or employee to review upon request. In the case that a chemical in the laboratory does not have a MSDS associated with it, a supervisor should be contacted, and the chemical should not be used until the proper safety provisions provided in the MSDS have been reviewed. In the case that the MSDS is not available from the manufacturer, other sources for obtaining a MSDS include an internet search or any published safety reference.

Chemical Inventory

A Chemical Inventory shall be compiled and maintained for all chemicals and materials present in the work area. This shall be updated annually or sooner if need be. The Chemical Inventory shall be made available for review to any employee upon request. In addition, any new employee should be advised as to what chemicals they will be working with or they will be exposed to in the work environment.

Training

The department shall develop an employee and student training program for specific chemicals in their department. Any employee that may be subject to exposure to a hazardous chemical(s) under typical working conditions shall be provided with an educational training on the safe handling of such chemical(s). This training shall occur at the minimum of once a year. In addition, any student’s who work with any hazardous chemicals in the course of their lab work or research projects shall be provided with training. This training will include the locations of the chemicals in the laboratory and the known effects of these chemicals, along with information on the MSDS.