Thousands of chemicals can be found in today's workplaces. These chemicals may have the capacity to cause health problems, from minor skin irritations to serious injuries or diseases like cancer. You should review the type of chemicals you use and consider using less hazardous chemicals (such as less toxic and nonflammable chemicals).
The Employer Chemical Hazard Communication rule was developed to make sure employers and employees are informed about chemical hazards in the workplace.
This rule applies to:
• Employers engaged in businesses where chemicals are used, distributed, or produced for use or distribution.
• Contractors or subcontractors that work for employers engaged in businesses where chemicals are used, distributed, or produced for use or distribution.
Certain products, chemicals, or items are exempt from this rule. Below is a summarized list of these exemptions. See WAC 296-800-17055
at the end of this rule to get complete information about these exemptions:
• Any hazardous waste as defined by the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), when subject to regulations issued under that act by the Environmental Protection Agency.
• Any hazardous substance as defined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability ACT (CERCLA) (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.) when the hazardous substance is the focus of remedial or removal action being conducted under CERCLA in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
– Tobacco or tobacco products
– Wood or wood products that are not chemically treated and will not be processed, for example, by sawing and sanding
– Food or alcoholic beverages
– Some drugs, such as retail or prescription medications
– Retail cosmetics
– Ionizing and nonionizing radiation
– Biological hazards
– Any consumer product or hazardous substance when workplace exposure is the same as that of a consumer
♦ Retail products used in offices in the same manner and frequency used by consumers can be termed "consumer products," and include things such as: Correction fluid, glass cleaner, and dishwashing liquid.
Example: If you use a household cleaner in your workplace in the same manner and frequency that a consumer would use it when cleaning their house, your exposure should be the same as the consumer's, you are exempt. A janitor using a household cleaner, such as bleach, throughout the day, is not considered to be a consumer, and is not exempt.
– Manufactured items that remain intact are exempt from this rule.
– Manufactured items that are fluids or in the form of particles are not exempt from this rule.
The following are examples:
Covered by this rule
Not covered by this rule
Sawed or cut in half
Used whole or intact
Cut by a torch
Bent with a tube bender
Burning the ends
Tying a knot
• If you produce, import, distribute and/or repackage chemicals, or choose not to rely on labels or material safety data sheets provided by the manufacturer or importer, you must comply with chemical hazard communication for manufacturers, importers and distributers, WAC 296-62-054
• You may withhold trade secret information under certain circumstances. See trade secrets, WAC 296-62-053
, to find out what information may be withheld as a trade secret and what information must be released.
To inform and train your employees about the hazards of chemicals they may be exposed to during normal working conditions, or in foreseeable emergencies by:
• Making a list of the hazardous chemicals present in your workplace
• Preparing a written Chemical Hazard Communication Program for your workplace
• Informing your employees about this rule and your program
• Providing training to your employees about working in the presence of hazardous chemicals
• Getting and keeping the material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for the hazardous chemicals
• Making sure that labels on containers of hazardous chemicals are in place and easy to read.
Develop, implement, maintain, and make available a written Chemical Hazard Communication Program.
Include multiemployer workplaces in your program if necessary.
Identify and list all the hazardous chemicals present in your workplace.
Obtain and maintain material safety data sheets (MSDS) for each hazardous chemical used.
Make sure that material safety data sheets (MSDS) are readily accessible to your employees and NIOSH.
Label containers holding hazardous chemicals.
Inform and train your employees about hazardous chemicals in your workplace.
Follow these rules for laboratories using hazardous chemicals.
Follow these rules for handling chemicals in factory sealed containers.
The department must:
Translate certain chemical hazard communication documents upon request.
Attempt to obtain a material safety data sheet (MSDS) upon request.
Items or chemicals exempt from the rule, and exemptions from labeling.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.010
, 49.17.040, 49.17.050, 49.17.060. WSR 09-10-078, § 296-800-170, filed 5/5/09, effective 6/15/09; WSR 03-18-090, § 296-800-170, filed 9/2/03, effective 11/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.010
, [49.17].040, and [49.17].050. WSR 02-16-047, § 296-800-170, filed 8/1/02, effective 10/1/02; WSR 01-23-060, § 296-800-170, filed 11/20/01, effective 12/1/01; WSR 01-11-038, § 296-800-170, filed 5/9/01, effective 9/1/01.]