Environmental Health and Safety
Hazard Communication

Hazard Communication

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    WAC 296-800-170

    1.0 Introduction

    SU employees can review a copy of this written program in the office and the websites of the Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator.

    The purpose of the Hazard Communication Program is to ensure that all affected employees are aware of the dangers associated with hazardous materials used at Seattle University.

    2.0 Responsibilities

    2.1 Supervisors

    • Verify container labeling
    • Maintain MSDS binder and list of hazardous products
    • Forward MSDS and updated hazardous products lists to Environmental Health & Safety office
    • Arrange employee training
    • Review new MSDS for new hazards and controls and train affected employees
    • Duties may be delegated

    3.0 Common Hazardous Chemical Procedures

    The manufacturer’s recommended procedures must always be followed. These procedures can be found on each Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Material Safety Data Sheets are explained below.

    No employee is permitted to use a hazardous chemical product until the MSDS is on site.

    No employee is permitted to use a hazardous chemical product until the employee has had hazard communication training.

    Approved containers must be used for gasoline and other flammable or combustible solvents. Equipment power cords must be disconnected before the equipment is cleaned with solvents. Proper ventilation must be used when there is the possibility of fumes or vapors accumulating.

    4.0 Container Labeling

    All containers of hazardous materials, including those in academic laboratories, at Seattle University must have securely affixed warning labels. This requirement applies to all hazardous materials, whether purchased before or after the effective date of this program.

    The labels must be prominently displayed, written in English, and clearly legible. It is strongly encouraged that departments use the HMIS or NFPA labeling system, which uses color and number coding to identify hazards. Please contact the Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator for more information.

    The original manufacturer’s label or a hand-written label will be acceptable, if the hand written label contains the original information and is clearly legible, in English.

    4.1 Primary Containers

    On the primary (original) container, labels must include the following information:

    • Identity of the hazardous chemical in the container. The chemical or product name must correspond to a specific Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) with the same name.
    • Appropriate hazard warnings. The warning must be a word, symbol, picture, or combination thereof, which provides at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, such as “toxic” or “corrosive”. The hazard warning when used in conjunction with the other information immediately available to the employee (i.e. MSDS) will provide specific information regarding the physical or health hazards of the chemical.

    4.2 Secondary Containers

    Repackaged secondary or temporary hazardous chemicals must be labeled with the same information that was included on the primary container.

    4.3 Annual Review and Updating

    The University Safety Committee will periodically review the effectiveness of the campus labeling program and recommend that it be updated, if needed.

    5.0 Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s).

    Copies of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) will be available to all affected employees for all hazardous chemicals located at Seattle University.

    Each department will keep a binder of MSDS for the chemicals used in that work area. The MSDS binder will be readily available for review by all employees during each work shift. Copies will be available to the employee upon request.

    The Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator is responsible for establishing and monitoring the MSDS system, including procedures for obtaining MSDS.

    The manufacturers of hazardous chemicals are required to supply MSDS for their products. The user shall forward a copy of all MSDS received to the Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator so that a complete set of MSDS for all hazardous materials on the SU campus will be maintained in one office.

    5.1 Reviewing and Updating MSDS’s

    Each supervisor will review incoming MSDS for new and significant health or safety information and will see that any new information is passed on to affected employees through training. MSDS’s will be updated as new products are added or old ones discontinued.

    6.0 New Product Hazards

    Before any new chemical is introduced into the work place, each employee will be given hazardous product information in the same manner as during the initial Hazard Communication training. The employee’s supervisor is responsible for providing this information.

    6.1 New Chemical Labeling & MSDS’s

    Each supervisor must verify that new containers of hazardous chemicals are properly labeled before they are brought into the specific work area. Labels must be legible. MSDS’s on new chemicals must be entered into the departments MSDS folder.

    7.0 List of Hazardous Chemicals

    The supervisor of each work area is responsible for keeping an up-to-date list or inventory of hazardous chemicals used in that area. The list must refer to a chemical by the same name(s) used on the corresponding Material Safety Data Sheet and the container label. This list must be kept with the binder containing the MSDS for these hazardous chemicals. This list and the MSDS binder must be available for review by employees during any work shift.

    The supervisor must note the date a new hazardous chemical is added to, or taken from the list. A revised list and a copy of the MSDS must be forwarded to the Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator. The Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator will maintain MSDS for hazardous products that are no longer on site, as an historical record or archive.

    8.0 Hazardous Non-Routine Tasks

    Employees may be required to perform non-routine tasks involving hazardous products. Prior to starting work on such projects, each affected employee will be given information by his/her supervisor about hazardous chemicals to which they may be exposed during such activity. This information will include:

    • Specific chemical hazards.
    • Protective/safety measures the employee can take.
    • Measures the University has taken to lessen the hazards including ventilation, respirators, product substitution, presence of another employee, and emergency procedures.

    It is the University policy that no employee will begin work in a confined space or on any non-routine task involving hazardous materials without first receiving a safety briefing from the department supervisor.

    9.0 Informing Contractors

    It is the responsibility of the Seattle University Project Manager to provide contractors with information regarding hazardous chemicals in the contractor’s work area. The notification shall be in writing and will include:

    • University safety rules.
    • Hazardous chemicals to which they may be exposed while on the job site.
    • Measures the contractor’s employees may take to lessen the possibility of exposure.
    • Steps the University has taken to lessen the risks of chemical exposure or injury.
    • Availability and location of MSDS for all hazardous chemicals used at SU.
    • Emergency procedures to follow in case of exposure.

    It is the contractor’s responsibility to notify the Project Manager or the Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator, in writing, when hazardous chemicals will be brought onto campus. The contractor will provide the following information:

    • Specific hazards for materials brought to the SU campus
    • MSDS for hazardous materials brought to the SU campus.
    • Protective/safety measures to minimize exposure of the SU community to hazardous materials.
    • Emergency procedures to be used when a hazardous chemical is released.

    10.0 Employee Training and Information

    All employees of Seattle University who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals at SU will be provided information and training on the chemicals in their work area. Prior to starting work, each new employee with potential exposure to hazardous products will attend a health and safety orientation and will receive information and training on the following: 

    • An overview of the requirements contained in the Hazard Communication Standard.
    • Hazardous chemicals present in his/her work places or operations.
    • Location and availability of SU’s written Hazard Communication Program.
    • Physical and health effects of the hazardous chemicals used in his/her work place.
    • Methods and observation techniques used to determine the presence or release of hazardous chemicals in the work area.
    • How to lessen or prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals through use of control procedures, work practices, and personal protective equipment.
    • Steps the University has taken to lessen or prevent exposure to these chemicals.
    • Emergency procedures to follow if exposed to these chemicals.
    • How to read labels and review Material Safety Data Sheets to obtain appropriate hazard information.
    • Location and availability of the MSDS file and lists of hazardous chemicals present in the employee’s work area.

    It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that employees have received this training before working in an area with hazardous chemicals.

    Periodic notices will be posted on the employee bulletin boards, which provide an explanation of the container labeling system and the location of SU’s written Hazard Communication Program.

    The Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator will be responsible for assisting supervisors in arranging the employee training and information program.

    11.0 Emergency Procedures

    In case of a chemical spill or accidental exposure to hazardous chemicals, immediately call Campus Public Safety at x5911. Refer to the appropriate MSDS for emergency instructions and relay this information to Campus Public Safety.

    12.0 Disposing of Hazardous Materials

    A hazardous material is any substance in any quantity or form that could jeopardize health, safety, or property. Such materials include toxic chemicals, flammable liquids or solids, poisons, corrosives, compressed gases and others. Approval must be obtained from the SU Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator before disposing of potentially hazardous material according to SU’s Hazardous Materials Disposal Plan.