Chapter 1 - Hazard Communication

Health and Safety Training Manual: Section 2 – General Safety Rules

pdfHazard Communication and Training Act

The Hazard Communication and Training Act require employers to inform workers about hazardous chemicals in their work areas and to provide training in safety procedures. Oregon State University has designated Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) to administer a program to comply with this law.

Hazardous Chemicals Index

EH&S maintains a list of all hazardous chemicals or substances in the workplace. Each department is responsible for providing EH&S with a copy of each material safety data sheet which they receive from manufacturers.

Material Safety Data Sheets

Departments may obtain computerized material safety data sheets for hazardous materials from EH&S by using one of the following procedures:

  • Personnel may request specific MSDS’s from EH&S.
  • Internet Access:
  • In an EMERGENCY personnel may call OSU Security Services, extension 7-7000.

If a necessary material safety data sheet is not on the computerized list, contact EH&S; they will obtain a copy of the MSDS from the manufacturer of the hazardous chemical.

Employee Training and Information

Each supervisor is required to train each employee concerning the presence and safe handling of hazardous chemicals in the employee's workplace. This training shall be provided at the time of the employee's initial assignment and whenever a new hazardous chemical is introduced into the workplace.

This training should include at least the following:

  • The physical and health hazards of the chemicals.
  • The methods that may be used to detect the presence or release of the hazardous chemicals.
  • The measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards.
  • The details of the hazard communication program, labeling requirement, and how employees can obtain and use the chemical hazard information.

It is recommended that a record of this training be maintained by the supervisor. EH&S has developed training outlines and may be contacted for assistance. Each employee must also receive a copy of Working Safely with Hazardous Materials, a Handbook for Employees. This booklet is given to each new employee as part of the orientation program conducted by the Department of Human Resources and EH&S.

Container Labeling

All chemicals and chemical products that are in their original container must be clearly labeled, including the content, appropriate hazard warning, and name and address of the manufacturer. Supervisors must verify that all containers in their area of responsibility are properly labeled. If a proper label is not provided, the supervisor should contact EH&S for labels and instructions.

Supervisors must ensure that all secondary containers are labeled with either an extra copy of the original manufacturer's label or with other labels that contain at least the name of the chemical and the appropriate hazard warning. EH&S can provide assistance in labeling.

Non-routine Hazardous Tasks

When a university employee is required to perform a hazardous non-routine task involving a chemical substance, the supervisor should inform each affected employee of:

  • Specific chemical hazards;
  • Protective safety measures that can be taken;
  • Measures taken by the university to lessen the hazard (such as ventilation, respirators, required presence of fellow workers); and
  • Emergency procedures already established.
    Examples of non-routine tasks are work in confined places, work with asbestos, and work with PCBs.

Contractor Requirements

University policy requires all contractors to submit to EH&S a hazardous chemical list and/or material safety data sheets for those chemicals that fall within the scope of the Hazard Communication rules. This list should be submitted at least five (5) working days before introduction of the chemical to the campus. This gives EH&S time to provide safety information to university employees and other contractor employees who will be involved with the chemical.

Departments are responsible for removing, if possible, all hazardous chemicals to which contract employees may be exposed during their work. If requested, employing departments are responsible for supplying contractors with a chemical list and/or material safety data sheets prior to the beginning of any job. This information must include all hazardous chemicals to which contract employees will be exposed while at the job site and protective measures they may take to lessen the possibility of exposure.

It is the responsibility of the employing department to notify contractors of their right to this hazardous chemical safety information.

Chemical Waste Disposal

Hazardous chemical waste refers to any material substance that is

  • CORROSIVE (pH<2 or pH>12)
  • REACTIVE (oxidizers, water reactive)
  • FLAMMABLE (flash point <140 F)

Hazardous waste is incinerated (at off-site locations). Departments are charged for the cost of hazardous waste disposal, so departments are encouraged to employ waste reduction procedures to limit costs. Use the following guidelines to dispose of hazardous chemical waste.


  • All waste must be in appropriate NON-LEAKING containers with lids that are non-leaking, tight fitting and are not cracked, broken, or chemically damaged.
  • The container size should match the amount of waste.
  • Containers must be compatible with the waste contained.
  • Liquid containers must be less than 5 gallons and weigh less than 45 pounds.
  • Paper or cardboard primary containers should be put into sealed plastic bags.
  • Except for common solvents, which can be bulked together, waste disposal charges are related to container volume rather than solely a weight basis; a partially full container may cost the same as a full one.


  • All unused chemicals in original non-leaking containers with manufacturer's label will be accepted as is.
  • All other waste require an orange hazardous waste label, available from EH&S, which must be completed and attached to each waste container, except for very small containers.
  • Labels should be affixed in a manner that does not cover existing labels or markings.
  • Solvent labels should preferably be put onto string tags attached to containers. Tags are also available from EH&S.
  • Complete the LOWER part of the label with your name, building, room number, department, and identification of contents. Include total weight or volume and percent ranges for all constituents.


  • Generators should find cardboard boxes and make them available to EH&S staff at the time of waste removal.
  • DO NOT pack waste in boxes, since waste containers will be examined by visual inspection.
  • EH&S staff will pack waste in boxes according to compatibility.
  • Boxes should be sealed when necessary, and sturdy enough to transport the material.
  • Boxes exceeding 45 pounds or 18 inches on a side cannot be safely handled by one person, and will not be picked up.


  • To request waste pickup,
  • In all cases, furnish the following information:
    • Name
    • Phone
    • Department
    • FIS Index/account number
    • Pickup location (building & room number).
  • You will be notified of pickup date and approximate time (usually within 1 week)