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Right to Know/ Hazard Communication
National Summary
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) has set out hazard communication (HazCom) requirements (or worker “right-to-know”) for all types of workplaces. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued HazCom requirements for significant new use of a chemical, and a worker protection standard for agricultural workers exposed to pesticides.
Employers must take specific steps to protect employees from hazardous chemical substances in the workplace. Employers must develop and implement a written hazard communication program that covers procedures for determining workplace chemical hazards, providing employees with information about chemicals (material safety data sheets (SDSs)), and training them how to avoid hazards and prevent exposure to them. Employers must develop a workplace chemical list, label all containers that contain hazardous substances, provide other hazard warnings, and notify employees of their rights under the hazard communication standard. Employers must also know the circumstances under which chemical trade secrets must be disclosed.
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