This analysis describes the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom), or worker “right-to-know,” requirements for general industry and construction workplaces, including OSHA’s adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). OSHA’s HazCom rule for the construction industry adopts the general industry rule by reference.

The purpose of HazCom is to address the issue of classifying the potential hazards of chemicals and to ensure that employers and employees can identify and understand hazardous chemicals in their workplace, the physical and health hazards associated with them, and how to take protective action.

29 CFR 1910.1200(b)

HazCom applies to almost every organization and employer covered by OSHA regulations. It applies to manufacturers, importers, and distributors of hazardous chemicals and to employers with employees exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals in general industry workplaces, shipyards, marine terminals, longshore operations, and construction sites, and in certain agricultural workplaces.

Chemical Manufacturers and Importers

HazCom requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate and classify the hazardous chemicals that they produce or import in terms of their physical and health hazards, as well as to establish hazard communication programs for their workers.

Chemical Distributors

Distributors of hazardous chemical products must transmit the required information about hazards to employers that purchase or receive such products from them.

Chemical Users

Employers that store and use chemicals but do not produce or import them do not have to comply with the requirement to evaluate and classify the hazards of those chemicals; they must have a workplace program and a system in place for communicating information to their workers. “Use” in the context of HazCom means to package, handle, react, emit, extract, generate as a by-product, or transfer.


Laboratories that ship hazardous chemicals. Laboratory employers that ship hazardous chemicals are considered to be either chemical manufacturers or distributors. They must ensure that any containers of hazardous chemicals leaving the laboratory are properly labeled, tagged, or marked and that a safety data sheet (SDS) is provided to distributors and other employers.

Laboratories that do not ship hazardous chemicals. Such laboratories must ensure that labels on incoming containers are not defaced, that SDSs are readily accessible to employees, and that employees receive HazCom training and are provided information about the chemicals.

Laboratories where employees handle only chemicals in sealed containers are not required to maintain a written HazCom program.

Facilities That Handle Only Sealed Containers

Employers in workplaces where employees handle only hazardous chemicals in sealed containers, such as marine cargo areas and warehouses, are not required to maintain a written hazard communication program for the chemicals. They must, however, still follow HazCom requirements for container or package labeling, availability of SDSs, and must provide information and training to employees concerning chemical substances.

According to this OSHA letter of interpretation, salon operators who have independent beauty salon contractors working under contractual agreements do not relieve the salon operator from responsibility as an employer under HazCom. This depends on whether the entities engaged in the salon are functioning as employers or employees. There needs to be a determination of whether there is an employer/employee relationship.

Concerning drug manufacturers, this OSHA letter of interpretation states that HazCom applies only to drug manufacturers and importers that have determined the pharmaceuticals they produce to be hazardous and that are known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees are exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.

29 CFR 1910.1200(c)

HazCom applies to any hazardous chemical in the workplace to which employees would normally be exposed under normal conditions or in a foreseeable emergency. The rule requires all employers that manufacture, import, distribute, or otherwise use hazardous substances to transmit the information about hazards to employees who work with those substances through a written hazard communication program, labels, SDSs, and an employee information and training program.

Under HazCom, “chemical” is defined as any substance or mixture of substances.

A “hazardous chemical” is any chemical that is classified as a physical hazard or health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified (HNOC).

A “mixture” is a combination or a solution composed of two or more substances in which they do not react.

Examples of a “foreseeable emergency” include control equipment failures and ruptures in containers but do not include chemical releases resulting from accidental fires. HazCom covers both physical hazards (such as flammability) and health hazards (such as irritation, lung damage, and cancer). Most chemicals used in the workplace have some hazard potential and, thus, will be covered by the rule.

“Classification” means to identify the relevant data regarding the hazards of a chemical; review those data to ascertain the hazards associated with the chemical; and decide whether the chemical will be classified as hazardous according to the definition of hazardous chemical. In addition, classification for health and physical hazards includes the determination of the degree of hazard, where appropriate, by comparing the data with the criteria for health and physical hazards.

“Hazard category” means the division of criteria within each hazard class, e.g., oral acute toxicity, and flammable liquids include four hazard categories. These categories compare hazard severity within a hazard class and should not be taken as a comparison of hazard categories more generally.

“Hazard class” means the nature of the physical or health hazards, e.g., flammable solid, carcinogen, and oral acute toxicity.

“Health hazard” means a chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects:

  • Acute toxicity (any route of exposure);
  • Skin corrosion or irritation;
  • Serious eye damage or eye irritation;
  • Respiratory or skin sensitization;
  • Germ cell mutagenicity;
  • Carcinogenicity;
  • Reproductive toxicity;
  • Specific target organ toxicity (single or repeated exposure); or
  • Aspiration hazard.

The criteria for determining whether a chemical is classified as a health hazard are detailed in Appendix A to 29 CFR 1910.1200.

“Physical hazard” means a chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects:

  • Explosive;
  • Flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids);
  • Oxidizer (liquid, solid, or gas);
  • Self-reactive;
  • pyrophoric (liquid or solid);
  • Self-heating;
  • Organic peroxide;
  • Corrosive to metal;
  • Gas under pressure; or
  • Chemicals which, in contact with water, emit flammable gas.

The criteria for determining whether a chemical is classified as a physical hazard are available in Appendix B to 29 CFR 1910.1200.


Hazardous wastes are exempted from the standard because there are special requirements for hazardous waste workers (29 CFR 1910.120, 40 CFR 264.16, and 40 CFR 265.16). Other exempted products are those subject to labeling of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; and the Consumer Product Safety Act. Chemicals covered under TSCA are subject to the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hazard communication rule.

The following specific items are also exempt from HazCom requirements:

  • Articles (manufactured items formed or shaped in ways that do not release or result in exposure to a hazard under normal use);
  • Tobacco or tobacco products;
  • Food or alcoholic beverages sold in retail establishments or foods intended for consumption by workers;
  • Drugs in a form available for retail sale or intended for consumption by workers; and
  • Cosmetics for the personal use of employees in the workplace or in a retail organization, packaged for retail sale.

This OSHA letter of interpretation clarifies that “articles” are exempt from HazCom requirements because they do not present a hazardous exposure to employees

Certain wood products are subject to HazCom requirements. Only wood products that pose no hazard to employees, wood that has the potential for flammability or combustibility, or lumber that will not be processed are still exempted. Wood that has been coated or treated by a hazardous chemical or that will be subsequently sawed or cut and generate any dust is covered by HazCom requirements.


Employees who handle hazardous chemicals in nonroutine, isolated instances are not covered for those chemicals. For example, an office employee who periodically changes the toner in a copier machine would not need information or training under HazCom for the toner.

OSHA, in this letter of interpretation, indicates that office chemicals, such as white-outs, adhesives, cleaning agents, and copier chemicals, are exempt under the provisions of the rule as consumer products. They would fall under HazCom only when they are used with greater frequency or duration than a normal consumer or for uses not intended by the manufacturer. For instance, if an employee is hired to service the machine (such as for a copier repair position), HazCom would be applicable.

29 CFR 1910.1200(d) and 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendices A and B

The quality of the employer’s hazard communication program depends on the adequacy and accuracy of the hazard evaluation and classification process—in other words, employers must know which chemicals in their workplace are hazardous.

Manufacturers and Importers

Chemical manufacturers and importers must evaluate each chemical they produce or import in order to classify the chemicals and chemical mixtures according to their physical and health hazards.

Process to classify and categorize chemical hazards. For each chemical, the chemical manufacturer or importer must determine the hazard classes and, where appropriate, the category of each class that applies to the chemical being classified

The hazard evaluation process requires the chemical manufacturer to:

  • Identify the relevant data regarding the hazards of a chemical;
  • Review those data to determine the hazards associated with the chemical;
  • Decide whether the chemical will be classified as hazardous according to the definition of hazardous chemical in the rule; and
  • Determine the degree of hazard, where appropriate, by comparing the data with the criteria for health and physical hazards.

Resources to assist with classification. Manufacturers and importers must identify and consider the full range of available scientific literature and other evidence concerning the potential hazards of a chemical or chemical mixture. There is no requirement to test the chemical to determine how to classify its hazards.

OSHA has provided classifiers with the option of relying on the classification listings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program for making classification decisions regarding carcinogenicity rather than applying the criteria themselves.

Chemical mixtures. Chemical manufacturers and importers evaluating chemical mixtures must follow the procedures described in Appendices A and B of the rule to determine when mixtures of the classified chemicals are covered by hazard communication requirements. They may rely on the information provided on the current SDSs of the individual ingredients, except where they know or should know through reasonable diligent review that the SDS misstates or omits required information

In a November 19, 2013, letter of interpretation, a chemical manufacturer asks if—in chemical mixtures—classified based on whole mixture test data, the ingredients need to be listed in Section 3 (composition/information on ingredients) of the SDS. According to OSHA, yes, per 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(iii), all ingredients that are classified as health hazards and are present at or above their cutoff value/concentration limit or present a health risk below the cutoff value/concentration limit must be listed in Section 3 of the SDS

Employers That Are Not Chemical Manufacturers or Importers

Employers that are not chemical manufacturers or importers and that receive chemicals into the workplace may choose to rely on the information in SDSs and chemical labels supplied by the chemical manufacturer or importer.

If an employer chooses not to rely on the classification performed by the chemical manufacturer or importer for the chemical, the employer must conduct its own hazard classification according to the same process prescribed for manufacturers and importers.

Labels, Tags, and Markings
29 CFR 1910.1200(f) and 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix C

Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors must label every hazardous chemical container with key information on the substance it contains, and worker training must include an explanation of the labeling system.

Companies that manufacture or import chemicals must create the standardized label for a particular chemical that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

The employer that uses hazardous chemicals must ensure that each hazardous chemical covered by HazCom has an appropriate label that remains firmly attached and legible; just as importantly, the employer must make sure that all exposed employees know how to read the label and use the information it conveys to protect themselves.

For additional details, see the national Labels analysis

29 CFR 1910.1200(g) and 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix D

Manufacturers, importers, or distributors must provide an SDS to their customers for each hazardous chemical at the time of the first shipment of the chemical.

The SDS is a standardized 16-section document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a chemical that describes the physical and chemical properties, physical and health hazards, routes of exposure, precautions for safe handling and use, emergency and first-aid procedures, control measures, and other information about the chemical.

For additional details, see the national Safety Data Sheet analysis.

29 CFR 1910.1200(i) and 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix E

A trade secret may consist of any formula, pattern, device, or compilation of information that is used in one’s business and that gives that business an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors that do not know or use it. In this letter of interpretation, OSHA explains when an employer can claim trade secret status and what is required for an employer to claim trade secret status of a hazardous chemical ingredient.

Chemical manufacturers, importers, or employers may withhold a chemical name, other specific identification of a chemical, or the exact percentage or concentration of the substance in a mixture from an SDS if the following conditions are met:

  • The claim to withhold information as a trade secret is supported.
  • Information about the properties and effects of the chemical is disclosed.
  • The SDS indicates that the chemical identity and/or percentage of composition is withheld as a trade secret.
  • The chemical identity and percentage of composition is made available to health professionals, employees, and designated representatives in order to protect the health of workers.

Emergency disclosure of trade secret information. If withholding trade secret information would impair OSHA’s ability to evaluate employee exposure to a harmful substance, the manufacturer or employer must provide alternative data. If a treating physician or nurse determines that the identity and/or percentage of composition of a chemical is necessary for emergency or first-aid treatment, the manufacturer or employer must immediately disclose the trade secret chemical to the physician or nurse, regardless of the need for a written statement of confidentiality agreement

Nonemergency disclosure. In nonemergency situations, the manufacturer or employer must disclose the chemical identity and/or percentage of composition to a health professional if the request is in writing and describes with reasonable detail the occupational health needs for the information (e.g., to conduct sampling of workplace exposure, design engineering or protective measures, provide treatment). The recipient of any trade secret information must agree in writing not to use it for any purpose other than the health needs asserted and agree not to release the information under any circumstances other than to OSHA or other entity authorized by the manufacturer or employer.

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)

The written hazard communication program is the blueprint for HazCom—and it is the first thing an OSHA compliance officer or inspector will ask to see. It does not have to be long or spell out your program in detail, but it must be well thought out, clear, and comprehensive, at least outlining all the parts of the program you are implementing. The written program should be available to all employees.

Employers must develop a written hazard communication program that describes the labels and other forms of warning in the workplace, the SDSs, and how the employee information and training requirement will be met. It must also include:

  • A list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present using a product identifier that is referenced on the appropriate SDS (the list may be compiled for the workplace as a whole or for individual work areas); and
  • The methods the employer will use to inform employees of the hazards of nonroutine tasks (for example, the cleaning of reactor vessels) and the hazards associated with chemicals contained in unlabeled pipes in their work areas.

Written program update requirement. By June 1, 2016, all employers must update existing written HazCom plans as necessary to reflect the new chemical label design and SDS format. The revised plan must also describe any changes to employee training requirements related to hazard classification and make chemical labels and SDSs understandable.

Access to sample written program. See Guidance Documents in this analysis for an electronic version of a sample written hazard communication program.

The written program should include the following HazCom components:

  • Identifies participating personnel.
  • Describes the methods the employer will use to inform employees of the hazards of nonroutine tasks (such as cleaning reactor vessels) and hazards associated with chemicals contained in unlabeled pipes in work areas.
  • Criteria for labels and other forms of warning:
    —Designation of person responsible for ensuring labeling of in-plant containers;
    —Designation of person responsible for ensuring labeling of shipped containers;
    —Description of labeling system used;
    —Description of written alternatives to labeling of in-plant containers, where applicable; and
    —Procedures to review and update label information, when necessary.
  • Criteria for SDSs:
    —Designation of persons responsible for obtaining/maintaining SDSs;
    —How SDSs are to be maintained (e.g., in notebooks in the work area(s), in a pickup truck at the jobsite, via fax); procedures on how to retrieve SDSs electronically, including backup systems to be used in the event of failure of the electronic equipment; and how employees obtain access to SDSs;
    —Procedures to follow when the SDS is not received at the time of the first shipment; and
    —For chemical manufacturers or importers, procedures for updating the SDS when new and significant health information is found.
  • Criteria for employee training:
    —Designation of persons responsible for conducting training;
    —Format of the program to be used (e.g., audiovisuals, classroom instruction);
    —Elements of the training program—if the written program addresses how the duties outlined in the regulation for employee information and training will be met;
    —Procedures to train new employees at the time of their initial assignment and to train employees when a new hazard is introduced into the workplace; and
    —Procedures to train employees regarding new hazards to which they may be exposed when working on or near another employer’s worksite (e.g., hazards introduced by other employers).
  • Must be readily available to employees, their designated representatives, the assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health, and the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Employers must prepare a list of all hazardous chemicals known to be present in the workplace as part of the written hazard communication program using a product identifier that is referenced on the appropriate SDS. If an SDS is missing, the employer must get it from the manufacturer, distributor, or other source. The list will eventually serve as an inventory of every substance for which an SDS is required.

OSHA HazCom vs. the EPA Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) chemical list. The HazCom list does not meet the reporting requirements for a chemical list under EPCRA (40 CFR 370.21(b)).

29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2)

A multiemployer worksite exists anytime employees of different employers are on the same site (e.g., a cleaning crew comes into your workplace to do its job or at a construction site). Also, any employer that hires the services of an outside contractor or vendor is responsible for ensuring compliance by the contractor with the requirements of HazCom if the contractor’s employees may be exposed to chemical hazards while working at the employer’s facility.

The outside contractor or vendor must be informed by the primary employer of the following:

  • Any chemical hazards that another employer or contractor and his or her employees may encounter during their work at the employer’s facility;
  • How SDSs will be made available for each hazardous chemical their employees may be exposed to while working;
  • Precautionary protective measures that will need to be taken under the workplace’s normal conditions and in foreseeable emergencies, and be responsible for making sure that the contractor informs and teaches employees about the hazards of your workplace;
  • Hazards known to be present, even if the hazard was preexisting, to the workplace before the workers come on-site;and
  • The type of hazardous substance labeling used in the work area.

Contractor-supplied substances. Each contractor bringing chemicals on-site must provide the primary employer with the appropriate hazard information for these substances, including SDSs, labels, and precautionary measures to be taken when working with or around such substances.

This letter of interpretation clarifies HazCom requirements for employers on multiemployer worksites.

See Guidance Documents in this section for an online copy of the OSHA Directive.

29 CFR 1910.1200(h)

Employers must provide employees with effective information and training concerning hazardous chemicals in their work areas at the time of the initial assignment and whenever a new chemical hazard is introduced into the work area. The information and training must be specific to the kinds of hazards in the workplace and the particular protective equipment, control measures, and procedures that are necessary.


Employees must be given information about:

  • HazCom and its requirements;
  • The location of workplace areas or operations where hazardous chemicals are present; and
  • Where the chemical list(s), SDSs, written hazard classification procedures (if applicable), and written hazard communication program will be kept.

OSHA’s requirements for employee information and training are flexible, allowing a company to design a program tailored to its needs and operations. Employee training must include:

  • The methods and observations used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical in the work area, such as monitoring conducted by the employer, continuous monitoring devices, visual appearance, or odor of hazardous chemicals when being released;
  • The physical, health, simple asphyxiation, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, and hazards not otherwise classified of the chemicals in the work area;
  • The protective measures for employees;
  • How workers can detect the presence of a hazardous chemical;
  • The specific protective procedures the employer is providing, such as engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment; and
  • An explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used, and an explanation of the SDS, including the standard chronological order of information on the SDS and how employees can use the appropriate hazard information.
OSHA Guidelines for Employee Training

Recommended training guidelines to help pass an OSHA HazCom inspection. According to OSHA HazCom guidance materials, training can be accomplished through a combination of audiovisuals, classroom instruction, and interactive video. Training can be conducted or information provided by categories of hazard (such as carcinogens or toxic agents) rather than by specific chemical. Training is required for new physical or health hazards, not for every new chemical that enters the workplace. If, however, a newly introduced chemical does not fit into an existing hazard class or category, training for that new chemical must be provided.

A general discussion of hazardous chemicals or giving employees an SDS to read, for example, is not enough. If an OSHA inspector concludes that the training is inadequate, a more rigorous review of the company’s entire compliance program will probably follow. An employer is responsible for evaluating an employee’s level of knowledge concerning hazards in the workplace and the hazard communication program.

Training language guideline. According to OSHA guidelines, if employees receive job instructions in a language other than English, the training and information conveyed under HazCom should also be presented in that language.

Guidance Documents

OSHA’s Directive CPL 02-02-038—titled Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, 1915.1200, 1917.28, 1918.90, 1926.59, and 1928.21 (03/20/1998)—contains guidelines for agency inspectors who are determining facility compliance with HazCom. This document may be useful for auditing your facility’s HazCom compliance using an OSHA inspector’s perspective. See the Directive.


BLR® has prepared a sample written hazard communication program for chemical storers, users, and handlers.


OSHA has developed several guidance documents to help you develop your HazCom training program, whether you are a chemical manufacturer or a user of chemicals:

See the Asbestos, Flammables Liquids, and Lead analyses for information about the hazards, worker protection requirements, and employee training requirements related to these hazardous substances

EPA’s HAZCOM Requirements
40 CFR 170

Farms or other facilities that use pesticides in their operations must comply with EPA’s FIFRA worker protection standard.

40 CFR 721.72 and 40 CFR 721, Subpart E

Any employer that manufactures, imports, or processes a substance that would constitute a “significant new use” that increases human or environmental exposure and that appears on the TSCA inventory list of chemical substances must develop and implement a written hazard communication program for the workplaces where employees are exposed to the TSCA-listed substance.

Additional Guidance

Private sector employers (private businesses and nonprofit organizations) governed by an OSHA-approved state safety and health regulatory program are required to comply with state worker right-to-know standards, which are, in some cases, stricter than federal requirements.

Federal OSHA standards do not apply in public sector workplaces (except federal agencies and facilities) because they do not regulate state, county, or municipal government offices or operations. Some states without OSHA-approved regulatory programs for private sector workplaces have adopted worker right-to-know standards that apply to state, county, or municipal workplaces. Check the state Hazard Communication Standard analysis for more information.


EPCRA, regulated under the EPA or authorized state agencies, requires employers to submit chemical hazard information to state and local authorities, including emergency responders. At a minimum, employers must use the same chemical list required under HazCom to fulfill EPCRA requirements.

Related Topics:

California’s hazard communication (HazCom) regulation is intended to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are classified and that information concerning the classified hazards is transmitted to employers and employees in their workplaces. It is part of the federally approved California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSH Act). The California regulation applies to all employers, in both the private and public sectors, that have hazardous substances in their workplaces. It also applies to laboratories that provide quality control analyses for manufacturing or that produce hazardous chemicals for commercial purposes.

California adopted the federal worker right-to-know requirements and has adopted requirements that are stricter than federal standards:

    —The state requires manufacturers, importers, and employers classifying chemicals to treat chemicals listed by specific sources as hazardous.
    —The federal standard allows for release of trade secret information to health professionals who enter into confidentiality agreements, while the state standard allows access to safety professionals as well.
    —California Proposition 65 requires employers to provide warning labels and other written information to employees for a specific list of chemicals determined by the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm.
    —Pesticide handlers and field workers must be provided with written HazCom program leaflets, pesticide use records, and SDSs for pesticides.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, administers and enforces all occupational safety and health rules, including right-to-know requirements. The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) administers and enforces the provisions of the hazard communication for pesticide standards.

8 California Code of Regulations (CCR) 5194(d)

The state standard mirrors the federal rules for hazard classification and evaluation and has added that manufacturers, importers, or employers classifying chemicals must treat any of the following sources as establishing that the chemicals listed in them are hazardous:

  • The hazardous substance list at 8 CCR 339
  • 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Z federal regulations for toxic and hazardous substances
  • 22 CCR 12000, “Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity” (Proposition 65)
  • Monographs, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization (latest edition)
  • Threshold limit values for chemical substances as determined by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) (latest edition)
  • Annual Report on Carcinogens, National Toxicology Program (NTP) (latest edition)
8 CCR 5194(f)

California has adopted the federal requirements and added that if the substance is not currently produced or imported, the manufacturer, importer, distributor, or employer must add the information to the label before the substance is shipped or introduced into the workplace again.

8 CCR 5194(g)

California rules are the same as federal, except that in nonemergencies, the employer has to disclose trade secret information to safety as well as health professionals.

8 CCR 3321

In any facility in which one or more hazardous substances are transported through pipelines, all aboveground piping systems used to transport gases, vapors, liquids, semiliquids, or plastics must be identified at points at which confusion would introduce hazards to employees.

Where identification is required for piping systems, one or more of the following methods must be used:

  • Complete color painting of all visible parts of the pipe; and/or
  • Color bands, preferably 8 to 10 inches wide, at various intervals and at each outlet valve or connection.

Where identification is provided by complete color painting or by color bands, a color code must be posted as follows:

  • The names or abbreviations of the names of the materials transported must be lettered or stenciled on the pipe near the valves or outlets.
  • Tags of metal or other suitable material naming the material transported must be fastened securely to the system on or near the valve. Tag legibility shall be maintained.
8 CCR 5194(b)(6) and 27 CCR 25102 to 27001

In addition to the state’s right-to-know law, employers must comply with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Administered by Cal/EPA, the law requires employers to provide employees with warnings, either posted in the workplace or through product labeling, concerning any chemicals in their inventory that are known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The list of chemicals updated August 2013 is available in the state regulations at

The following employers are not subject to Proposition 65:

  • An employer employing fewer than 10 employees;
  • Any city, county, or district or any department or agency thereof or the state or any department or agency thereof or the federal government or any department or agency thereof; and
  • Any entity in its operation of a public water system as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 4010.1.

Employers must provide hazard warning statements on hazardous substance containers of substances that meet the Proposition 65 determination for causing cancer or reproductive toxicity. A list of such substances is available from Cal/EPA.

3 CCR 6723 and 3 CCR 6761

Before employees are allowed to mix, load, apply, transport, or handle pesticides, the employer must provide the following information to the employee:

  • Copies of the written hazard communication program leaflets (Pesticide Safety Information Series leaflet A-8) published by Cal/EPA.
  • Pesticide use records for pesticides that have been handled by employees.
  • SDSs for each pesticide listed in the pesticide use records. If SDSs are not available, the employer must make an inquiry to the pesticide registrant to obtain one within 7 working days of the employee’s request. The registrant must provide the SDS within 15 days of the employer’s request.
8 CCR 5194(h)

Employers must inform employees of the right:

  • To personally receive information regarding hazardous substances to which they may be exposed;
  • For their physician or collective bargaining agent to receive information regarding hazardous substances to which the employee may be exposed; and
  • Against discharge or other discrimination because of the employee’s exercise of the rights under the provisions of the Hazardous Substances Information and Training Act.

Employees must be provided a new or revised SDS within 30 days after the employer receives it if the new information indicates significantly increased risks or measures necessary to protect employee health.


__ Is the Cal/OSHA poster Safety and Health Protection on the Job displayed in a prominent location where all employees are likely to see it?

__ Are emergency telephone numbers posted where they can be readily found in case of emergency?

__ Where employees may be exposed to any toxic substances or harmful physical agents, has appropriate information concerning employee access to medical and exposure records and safety data sheets (SDSs) been posted or otherwise made readily available to affected employees?

__ Are signs concerning exiting from buildings, room capacities, floor loading, exposures to X-ray, microwave, or other harmful radiation or substances posted where appropriate?

__ Is the summary of occupational injuries and illnesses (Cal/OSHA Form 300A) posted February 1 to April 30?


__ Are employees trained in the safe handling practices of hazardous chemicals (acids, caustics, and the like)?

__ Are employees aware of the potential hazards involving various chemicals stored or used in the workplace such as acids, bases, caustics, epoxies, and phenols?

__ Are chemical piping systems clearly marked as to their content?

__ Where corrosive liquids are frequently handled in oven containers or drawn from storage vessels or pipe lines, are adequate means readily available for neutralizing or disposing of spills or overflows properly and safely?

__ Have standard operating procedures been established, and are they being followed when cleaning up chemical spills?

__ Are employees prohibited from eating in areas in which hazardous chemicals are present?

__ Is personal protective equipment provided, used, and maintained whenever necessary?

__ Are there written standard operating procedures for the selection and use of respirators where needed?

__ If you have a respirator protection program, are your employees instructed on the correct usage and limitations of the respirators?


__ Is there a list of hazardous chemicals used in your workplace?

__ Is there a written HazCom program dealing with SDSs, labeling, and employee training?

__ Who is responsible for SDSs, container labeling, and employee training?

__ Is each container for a hazardous chemical (i.e., vats, bottles, storage tanks) labeled with product identity and a hazard warning (communication of the specific health hazards and physical hazards)?

__ Is there an SDS readily available for each hazardous chemical used?

__ How will you inform other employers whose employees share the same work area in which the hazardous chemicals are used?

__ Is there an employee training program for hazardous chemicals?

Does this program include:

__ An explanation of what an SDS is and how to use and obtain one?

__ SDS contents for each hazardous chemical or class of chemicals?

__ Explanation of worker right to know?

__ Identification of where employees can see the employer’s written HazCom program and where hazardous chemicals are present in their work areas?

__ The physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area, how to detect their presence, and specific protective measures to be used?

__ How employees will be informed of hazards of nonroutine tasks and hazards of unlabeled pipes?

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