United States (U.S.) - Hazardous Materials

The purpose of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) is to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced in or imported into the U.S. are evaluated and that information concerning their hazards is transmitted to employers and employees. This transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, MSDSs, and employee training.

Chemical manufacturers or importers must assess the hazards of chemicals which they produce or import and provide hazard warning labels and MSDSs to employers. These provisions also apply to massive forms of metal unless they qualify as an exempt “article,” i.e., a manufactured item whose end use depends on its shape or design and which does not release or result in exposure to a hazardous chemical under normal conditions of use (29 CFR 1910.1200).

Employers must provide information to their employees about the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed by means of a hazard communication program, hazard warning labels and other forms of warning, MSDSs, and information and training. Trade secret provisions are included in the standard.

For more information on hazard communication programs, readers are advised to contact their local authorities.