OSHA Handbook for Small Businesses

Hazardous Substances Communication

Hazardous Substances Communication

  • Is there a list of hazardous substances used in your workplace?
  • Is there a current written exposure control plan for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials, where applicable?
  • Is there a written hazard communication program dealing with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), labeling, and employee training?
  • Is each container for a hazardous substance (i.e., vats, bottles, storage tanks, etc.) labeled with product identity and a hazard warning (communication of the specific health hazards and physical hazards)?
  • Is there a Material Safety Data Sheet readily available for each hazardous substance used?
  • Is there an employee training program for hazardous substances?

    Does this program include:
    • An explanation of what an MSDS is and how to use and obtain one?
    • MSDS contents for each hazardous substance or class of substances?
    • Explanation of "Right to Know?"
    • Identification of where an employee can see the employers written hazard communication program and where hazardous substances are present in their work areas?
    • The physical and health hazards of substances in the work area, and specific protective measures to be used?
    • Details of the hazard communication program, including how to use the labeling system and MSDS's?
  • Does the employee training program on the bloodborne pathogens standard contain the following elements:
  • (1) an accessible copy of the standard and an explanation of its contents; (2) a general explanation of the epidemiology and symptoms of bloodborne diseases; (3) an explanation of the modes of transmission of bloodborne pathogens; (4) an explanation of the employer's exposure control plan and the means by which employees can obtain a copy of the written plan; (5) an explanation of the appropriate methods for recognizing tasks and the other activities that may involve exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials; (6) an explanation of the use and limitations of methods that will prevent or reduce exposure including appropriate engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment; (7) information on the types, proper use, location, removal, handling, decontamination, and disposal of personal protective equipment; (8) an explanation of the basis for selection of personal protective equipment; (9) information on the hepatitis B vaccine; (10) information on the appropriate actions to take and persons to contact in an emergency involving blood or other potentially infectious materials; (11) an explanation of the procedure to follow if an exposure incident occurs, including the methods of reporting the incident and the medical followup that will be made available; (12) information on postexposure evaluations and followup; and (13) an explanation of signs, labels, and color coding?
  • Are employees trained in the following:
    • How to recognize tasks that might result in occupational exposure?
    • How to use work practice and engineering controls and personal protective equipment and to know their limitations?
    • How to obtain information on the types, selection, proper use, location, removal, handling, decontamination, and disposal of personal protective equipment?
    • Who to contact and what to do in an emergency?