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Hazard Communication


North Carolina Hazard Communication Standard

North Carolina Right-To-Know Legislation

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard or “Right To Know” (RTK) Legislation, pertaining to hazardous chemicals in the workplace was originally drafted as Final rule in 1983 and became effective November 25, 1985. The standard can be found in title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations in Subpart Z of Part 1910 (federal Register, November 25, 1989 and August 24, 1987). Many OSHA regulations have compliances based on national consensus standards from such organizations as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the Department of transportation (DOT).

All privately financed educational institutions are covered by the federal standard as well as the Right-to-Know laws in force in their respective states. Publicly funded schools must comply with their respective state government statutes. All RTK legislation is designed to help employees recognize and eliminate the dangers associated with hazardous materials in their workplace.

The legislation requires that a written program be developed and that all affected employees know it's contents. The details of such legislation will vary from state to state. Check with your Department of Education, federal (Chemical Emergency Procedures and Right to Know questions 1-800-424-9346) or state OSHA office, or Department of Labor. The plan need not be lengthy, however, it must generally include these components:

  1. Written Hazard Assessment Procedures, including designation of responsible individual(s) or agency, consideration of scientific evidence for health hazards, evaluation of physical hazards, a comprehensive list and consideration of regulated chemicals, and assessment of chemicals prepared on site. Physical Hazards encompass flammable liquids or solids, combustible liquids, compressed gases, explosives, organic peroxide, oxidizers, pyrophoric materials, unstable materials, and water reactive materials. Chemical Hazards include carcinogens, toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, and organic specific agents.
  2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS's) for all chemicals, including; designated person responsible for maintaining the sheets, procedures for apprising and allowing employees access to them, procedures to follow when MSDS's are not received, procedures for updating the sheets, and descriptions of alternatives to actual sheets in the work area.
  3. Labels and Warnings, including designated person responsible for ensuring proper labeling of chemicals, description of labeling system, and procedure for updating the labeling information. Labels must generally include: identity of hazardous chemical, appropriate hazard warning, and name and address of manufacturer.
  4. Employee Training, including designation of person responsible for conducting training, format of the program, documentation of training, and procedures for training new employees. The ultimate purpose is to assure a safe workplace.
According to North Carolina OSHA, Right-to-Know legislation these provisions shall not apply in or on the following (Exemptions General Statutes 95-216):
  1. Hazardous substances while being transported in interstate commerce into or through the state;
  2. Products intended for personal consumption by employees in the facilities;
  3. Retail food sale establishments and all other retail trade establishments in Standard Industrial Classification Codes 53-59, exclusive of processing and repair areas, except that the employer must comply with the provisions of G.S. 95-194(1)(I);
  4. Any food, food additive, color additive, drug or cosmetic as such terms are defined in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.);
  5. A laboratory under the direct supervision or guidance of a technically qualified individual provided that:
    1. Labels on containers of incoming chemicals shall not be removed or defaced;
    2. MSDS’s received by the laboratory shall be maintained and made accessible to employees and students;
    3. The laboratory is not used primarily to produce hazardous chemicals in bulk for commercial purposes; and
    4. The laboratory operator complies with the provisions of G.S. 95-194(a)(i);
  6. Any farming operation which employs 10 or fewer full-time employees, except that if any hazardous chemical in an amount in excess of 55 gallons or 500 pounds, whichever is greater, is normally stored at the farming operation, the employer must comply with the provisions of G.S. 95-194(1)(I); and
  7. Any distilled spirits, tobacco, and untreated wood products; and
  8. Medicines used directly inpatient care in health care facilities and health care facility laboratories.
North Carolina General Statute 94-194. Emergency Information
(a) An employer who normally stores at a facility any hazardous chemical in an amount of at least 55 gallons or 500 pounds, whichever is greater, shall provide the Fire Chief of the Fire Department having jurisdiction over the facility, in writing, (i) the name(s) and telephone number(s) of knowledgeable representative(s) of the employer who can be contacted for further information or in case of an emergency, and (ii) a copy of the Hazardous substances list.

According to the North Carolina Hazard Communication pamphlet of March, 1996, The Hazard Communication Standard is also known as the “worker right to know.” The goal of the standard is to reduce injuries and illnesses that result from improper use, storage, etc., of chemicals in the workplace. The first step in understanding the standard is to know which chemicals it applies to. The OSHA definition of hazardous chemical is so broad that practically every chemical substance and mixture is included: “hazardous chemical means any chemical which is a physical hazard of health hazard.”

Lists of physical and health hazards follow:

  • Physical Hazards
  • Combustible liquids
  • Compressed gases
  • Explosives
  • Flammables
  • Organic peroxides
  • Pyrophorics
  • Unstable or water reactives
  • Health Hazards
  • Carcinogens (cause cancer)
  • Toxic or highly toxic agents
  • Reproductive toxins
  • Irritants
  • Corrosives
  • Sensitizers
  • Hepatoxins (damage liver)
  • Nephrotoxins (damage kidneys)
  • Neurotoxins (damage nerves)
  • Hematopoietic agents (damage blood)
Agents which damage... lungs, skin, eyes, mucous membranes

_________, Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know Act, General Statutes 95-173-95-218, North Carolina Dept. of Labor, 319 Chapanoke Rd, Suite 105, Raleigh, NC 27603-3432., 1995.

_________, Hazard Communication Standard, North Carolina Dept. of Labor, 319 Chapanoke Rd, Suite 105, Raleigh, NC 27603-3432., 1995.

Rowan-Salisbury Hazard Communication Program

1. General Information: In order to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard, the following Written Hazard Communication Program has been established for the Rowan-Salisbury School System. All work units of the Rowan-Salisbury School System are included in this program. The written program will be available in the Safety Data Sheet Book that will be located at the School/Facility Office or Custodial Supply Warehouse for review by any interested employee, representative of the Department of Labor, OSHA, etc. Sharon Gardner and Phil Dobbins will review the Written Hazard Communication Program annually and revise as needed.

2. Container Labeling: Sharon Gardner, Phil Dobbins, Head Custodians, Principals/Facility Directors, Science Department Heads, and School Chemical Hygiene Officers will verify that all containers received for use will:

    • Be clearly labeled as to the contents.
    • Note the appropriate hazard warning.
    • List the name and address of the manufacturer.

The Principal/Facility Director, Head Custodian, Science Department Head, and School Chemical Hygiene Officer in each section will ensure that all secondary containers are labeled with either an extra copy of the original manufacturer’s label or with the generic labels which have a block for identity and a block for the hazard warning.

3. Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Sharon Gardner, Phil Dobbins, Head Custodians, Principals/Facility Directors, Science Department Heads and School Chemical Hygiene Officers will be responsible for obtaining and maintaining the data sheets for their area/facility. They will review incoming data sheets for new and significant health/safety information. They will ensure that any new information is passed on to the affected employees. (If alternatives to actual data sheets are used, provide a description of the system.) Copies of SDSs for all hazardous chemicals to which employees of the Rowan-Salisbury School System may be exposed at that site will be kept in the School/Facility Office, Science Department, Custodial Supply Room, Maintenance Shop Office or Bus Garage Office. SDSs will be available to all employees in their work area for review during each work shift. If MSDSs are not available or new chemicals in use do not have SDSs, immediately contact Sharon Gardner (704.630.6086) or Phil Dobbins (704.639.7098).

4. Employee Training and Information: Sharon Gardner and Phil Dobbins are responsible for the employee training program. They will ensure that all elements specified below are carried out. Prior to the start of work, each new employee of the Rowan-Salisbury School System will attend a required health and safety orientation and will receive information and training on the following:

    • An overview of the requirements contained in the Hazard Communication Standard.
    • Chemicals present in workplace operations.
    • Location and availability of the RSSS Written Hazard Program.
    • Physical and health effects of hazardous chemicals.
    • Method 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 usage of control/work practices and personal protective equipment.
    • Emergency procedures to follow if he/she is exposed to hazardous chemicals.
    • How to read labels and review SDSs to obtain appropriate hazard information.
    • Location of SDS file and hazardous chemical list.

After attending the training class, each employee will sign a form to verify that he/she attended the training, received written materials, and understood the RSSS Written Hazard Communication Program. Prior to a new chemical hazard being introduced into any section of this school system, each employee of that section will be given information outlined above. Sharon Gardner, Phil Dobbins, Principals/Facility Directors, Science Department Heads, and School Chemical Hygiene Officers are responsible for ensuring that SDSs on the new chemical(s) is available for the specified area.

5. List of Hazardous Chemicals: The following is a list of all hazardous chemicals used by employees of Rowan-Salisbury School System. Further information on each noted chemical can be obtained by reviewing SDSs located in the Custodial Warehouse, Facility Office, Science Department, Maintenance Department or Bus Garage.

*The table of contents is being considered your Hazardous Chemical List. Rowan-Salisbury Schools System considers all chemicals to be hazardous.

6. Hazardous Non-Routine Tasks: Periodically, employees are required to perform hazardous non-routine tasks. Prior to starting work on such projects, each affected employee will be given information by his/her section supervisor about hazardous chemicals to which he/she may be exposed during such activity. This information will include:

  • Specific chemical hazards.
  • Protective/safety measures employees can take.
  • Measures the Rowan-Salisbury School System have taken to lessen the hazards including ventilation, respirators, presence of another employee and emergency procedures.

Examples of non-routine tasks performed by the employees of Rowan-Salisbury Schools:


Hazardous Chemicals

Extermination of Pests


7. Informing Contractors It is the responsibility of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, Principals/Facility Directors, Head Custodians and the Maintenance Department to provide the contractor and his/her employees, the following information: List of hazardous chemicals to which he/she may be exposed while on the job site. Precautions the employee may take to lessen the possibility of exposure by usage of appropriated protective measures. The Principal/Facility Director and Head Custodian will be responsible for contacting each contractor before work is started at any school facility to gather and disseminate any information concerning chemical hazards that the contractor is bringing onto any RSSS property. It is the responsibility of the contractor to train his/her employees who will work on any RSSS site.



Rowan-Salisbury Schools Pilots State Renewal Program

The State of North Carolina passed HB 986 enabling qualifying school districts to become a renewal district. Currently only Rowan-Salisbury Schools district qualifies. On June 28th the RSS Board of Education elected to participate in this program. Click for details.