HazCom Affects Everyone - The reason behind the Hazard Communication Standard is simple – employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to in the workplace. They also need to know what protective measures are available to prevent exposure to or injuries caused by chemicals.
Regardless of your position, job function or responsibility, HazCom affects you:
It’s the Law - Aside from providing important workplace safety procedures, HazCom is the law. Failure to complete training or comply with its provisions could risk liability.
Hazardous Materials Can Be Anywhere - Even the most common chemicals can pose a hazard to one’s health and well-being. Listed below are just some of the locations where hazardous materials can be found.
- Indoor worksites – offices and residential buildings.
- Outdoor worksites – construction sites and public parks, golf courses and swimming pools.
- Special worksites – hospitals or industrial sites, such as maintenance shops or laboratories.
The New York State Right-to-Know Law requires public employers to develop programs to inform employees of the potential hazards of chemicals found in the workplace. Employers have four areas of responsibility:
- Notification - Employers must inform employees of their rights to information, including possible health effects and hazards, concerning all toxic substances present in their workplace.
- Information - Employers must respond to employee requests with specific information in written form concerning any toxic substance present in the workplace. Employees have the following rights regarding requests for information:
- The right to refuse to work with a toxic substance for which a request for information was made but not responded to within 72 hours of the request, excluding weekends and public holidays
- The right not to lose pay or forfeit any other privilege until they receive a proper response to their request for information about toxic substances
- The right not to be discharged, disciplined, penalized, or discriminated against for exercising any right under the State's Right to Know statutes and regulations
- Training - Employers must train employees in the identity, properties and safe use of toxic substances they can expect to encounter in the course of their duties.
- Record keeping - Employers must keep records of employees exposed to substances with enforceable exposure standards.
How Do I Know It’s Hazardous?
Any chemicals listed in the following sources must be considered hazardous:
- 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Z, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices, American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
- National Toxicology Program Annual Report on Carcinogens (NTP).
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs.
Chances are, upon completing this online program, you will have questions regarding HazCom/Right-to-Know and your role in maintaining a safe and hazard-free work environment. Employees should contact their supervisor or manager with questions regarding hazardous materials.
This online program is just part of the information that must be provided to employees. Training will not be complete until your employer has provided you with specific toxic substance training tailored to your worksite.