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Preventing Chemical Accidents:  Understanding MSDS’s & Assessing Chemical Hazards

Factsheet #1

Hazardous Chemicals in Our Workplaces

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard (HAZCOM).  It requires employers to inform employees about the chemical hazards they are potentially exposed to on the job.  

The Process Safety Management Standard also requires employers to train employees about safety and health hazards, including effects of chemical exposures from highly hazardous process chemicals.

Under HAZCOM, employers must develop a hazard communication program that includes training employees on how to safely use the chemicals they work with.

A basic HAZCOM program must include the following:

•  A list of the hazardous chemicals used at the workplace

•  Chemical labeling procedures

•  Material Safety Data Sheets

•  Employee training

•  A written plan explaining how the employer will comply with the hazard communication standard

Public Employees in New Jersey

The Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Act, which covers non-federal government employers in New Jersey, enforces a very similar hazard communication standard.

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