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Hazard Communication

hazardous chemical book thumbnailThis document serves as Caldwell County Schools Hazard Communication Program for all school employee's. It provides detailed safety guidelines and instructions for receipt, use and storage of chemicals at the schools by school employees and contractors. Reference: OSHA Standard 1910.1200.

Responsibilities – Lead Custodians

  • Ensure compliance with this program.
  • Comply with all specific requirements of the program.
  • Maintain an effective Hazard Communication training program.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the program.
  • Make this plan available to employees.
  • Coordinate specific chemical safety training for assigned employees.
  • Monitor employee training to ensure effectiveness.
  • Ensure that the equipment needed to work safely with chemicals is accessible and maintained for all employees on all shifts.
  • Monitor the school for proper use, storage and labeling of chemicals.
  • Ensure only the minimum amount necessary is kept at workstations.
  • Maintain a list of hazardous chemicals using the identity that is referenced on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
  • Ensure up to date MSDS are readily accessible to all employees on all shifts.
  • Ensure MSDS are available for emergency medical personnel when treating exposed employees.
  • Provide information, as requested, concerning health effects and exposure symptoms listed on MSDS.

All Employees


  • Ensure all received containers are properly labeled and that labels are not removed or defaced.
  • Ensure all shipped containers are properly labeled.
  • Ensure received MSDS are properly distributed. Employees
  • Obtain, from the manufacturer, MSDS for chemicals purchased from retail sources.
  • Comply with chemical safety requirements of this program.
  • Report any problems with storage or use of chemicals.
  • Immediately report spills or suspected spills of chemicals.
  • Use only those chemicals for which they have been trained.
  • Use chemicals only for specific assigned tasks in the proper manner.


General Program Information

This written Hazard Communication Plan (HAZCOM) has been developed based on OSHA Hazard Communication Standard and consists of the following elements:

  • Identification of Hazardous Materials
  • Product Warning Labels
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • Written Hazard Communication Program
  • Effective Employee Training

Some chemicals are explosive, corrosive, flammable, or toxic. Other chemicals are relatively safe to use and store but may become dangerous when they interact with other substances. To avoid injury and/or property damage, persons who handle chemicals in any area of the school must understand the hazardous properties of the chemicals. Before using a specific chemical, safe handling methods and health hazards must always be reviewed. Principals are responsible for ensuring that the equipment needed to work safely with chemicals is accessible and maintained for all employees on all shifts.


Employee Training

Initial Orientation Training

  • All new employees shall receive safety orientation training covering the elements of the HAZCOM and Right to Know Program. This training will consist of general training covering:
  • Location and availability of the written Hazard Communication Program.
  • Location and availability of the List of Chemicals used in the workplace.
  • The specific physical and health hazard of all chemicals in the workplace.
  • Specific control measures for protection from physical or health hazards.
  • Explanation of the chemical labeling system.
  • Location and use of MSDS.

Annual Refresher Training

  • Annual Hazard Communication refresher training will be conducted as part of the school’s continuing safety training program.
  • Immediate On-the-Spot Training This training will be conducted  for any employee that requests additional information or exhibits a lack of understanding of the safety requirements.

General Chemical Safety

Assume all chemicals are hazardous. The number of hazardous chemicals and the number of reactions between them is so large that prior knowledge of all potential hazards cannot be assumed. Use chemicals in small quantities as possible to minimize exposure and reduce possible harmful effects.

The following general safety rules shall be observed when working with chemicals:

  • Read and understand the Material Safety Data Sheets.
  • Keep the work area clean and orderly.
  • Use the necessary safety equipment.
  • Carefully label every container with the identity of its contents and appropriate hazard warnings.
  • Store incompatible chemicals in separate areas.
  • Substitute less toxic materials whenever possible.
  • Limit the volume of volatile or flammable material to the minimum needed for short operations periods.

Task Evaluation

Each task that requires the use of chemicals should be evaluated to determine the potential hazards associated with the work. This hazard evaluation must include the chemical or combination of chemicals that will be used in the work, as well as other materials that will be used near the work.

Chemical Storage

  • The separation of chemicals (solids or liquids) during storage is necessary to reduce the possibility of unwanted chemical reactions caused by accidental mixing. Explosives should be stored separately outdoors. Use either distance or barriers (e.g., trays) to isolate chemicals into the following groups:
  • Flammable Liquids: store in approved flammable storage lockers.
  • Acids: treat as flammable liquids.
  • Other liquids: ensure other liquids are not compatible with any other chemical in the same storage location. Chemicals will not be stored in the same refrigerator used for food storage.
  • A label on the door must appropriately identify refrigerators used for storing chemicals. 

Container Labels

  • It is extremely important that all containers of chemicals are properly labeled. This includes every type of container from a 5000-gallon storage tank to a spray bottle of degreaser. The following requirements apply:
  • All containers will have the appropriate label, tag or marking prominently displayed that indicated the identity, safety and health hazards.
  • Portable containers, which contain a small amount of chemical, need not be labeled if they are used immediately that shift, but must be under the strict control of the employee using the product.
  • All warning labels, tags, etc., must be maintained in a legible condition and not be defaced.
  • Incoming chemicals are to be checked for proper labeling. 

Emergencies and Spills

In case of an emergency, implement the proper Emergency Action Plan. 

  1. Evacuate people from the area.
  2. Isolate the area.
  3. If the material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources.
  4. Only personnel specifically trained in emergency response are permitted to participate in chemical emergency procedures beyond those required to evacuate the area.
  5. Call for Emergency Response assistance if required. 


  1. Maintain the smallest possible inventory of chemicals to meet immediate needs.
  2. Periodically review stock of chemicals on hand.
  3. Ensure that storage areas, or equipment containing large quantities of chemicals, are secure from accidental spills.
  4. Rinse emptied bottles that contain acid or inflammable solvents before disposal. 


  1. DO NOT Place hazardous chemicals in salvage or garbage receptacles.
  2. DO NOT Pour chemicals onto the ground.
  3. DO NOT Dispose of chemicals through the storm drain system.
  4. DO NOT Dispose of highly toxic, malodorous chemicals down sinks or sewer drains. For specific disposal instructions, contact Maintenance Department at 758-7342. 


Chemical: any element, chemical compound or mixture of elements and/orcompounds. Combustible liquid: means any liquid having a flash point at or above 100 F (37.8 C), but below 200 F (93.3 C), except any mixture having components with flash points of 200 F (93.3 C), or higher, the total volume of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.

Compressed gas: any compound that exhibits: 1. 1. A gas or mixture of gases having, in a container, an absolute pressure exceeding 40 psi at 70 F. 2. 2. A gas or mixture of gases having, in a container, an absolute pressure exceeding 104 psi at 130 F regardless of the pressure at 70 F. 3. 3. A liquid having a vapor pressure exceeding 40 psi at 100 F.

Container: any bag, barrel, bottle, box, can, cylinder, drum, reaction vessel, storage tank or the like that contains a hazardous chemical. For purposes of this section, pipes or piping systems, and engines, fuel tanks, or other operating systems in a vehicle, are not considered to be containers.

Designated representative: any individual or organization to whom an employee gives written authorization to exercise such employee’s rights under this section. A recognized or certified collective bargaining agent shall be treated automatically as a designated representative without regard to written employee authorization.

Employee: a worker who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals under normal operating conditions or in foreseeable emergencies. Workers such as office workers who encounter hazardous chemicals only in non-routine, isolated instances are not covered.

Employer: a person engaged in a business where chemicals are either used, distributed, or produced for the use of distribution, including a contractor or subcontractor.

Explosive: a chemical that causes a sudden, almost instantaneous release of pressure, gas, and heat when subjected to sudden shock, pressure, or high temperature.

Exposure or exposed: an employee is subjected in the course of employment to a chemical that is a physical or health hazard, and includes potential (e.g. accidental or possible) exposure. Subjected in terms of health hazards includes any route of entry (e.g. inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption.)

Flammable: a chemical that falls into one of the following categories: 

  • “Aerosol flammable” means an aerosol that yields a flame projection exceeding 18 inches at full valve opening, or a flashback (a flame extending back to the valve) at any degree of valve opening;
  • “Gas flammable” means: (a) A gas that, at ambient temperature and pressure, forms a flammable mixture with air at a concentration of thirteen (13) percent by volume or less; or (b) A gas that, at ambient temperature and pressure, forms a range of flammable mixtures with air wider than twelve (12) percent by volume, regardless of the lower limit;
  • “Liquid flammable” means any liquid having a flash point below 100 F, except any mixture having components with flash points of 100 F or higher, the total of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.
  • “Solid flammable” means a solid, other than a blasting agent or explosive as defined in 1910.109(a), that is liable to cause fire through friction, absorption of moisture, spontaneous chemical change, or retained heat from manufacturing or processing, or which can be ignited readily and when ignited burns so vigorously and persistently as to create a serious hazard. A chemical shall be considered to be a flammable solid if it ignites and burns with a self-sustained flame at a rate greater than one-tenth of an inch per second along its major axis.  

Flash point: the minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off a vapor in sufficient concentration to ignite.

Hazardous chemical: any chemical that is a physical hazard or a health hazard.

Hazard warning: any words, pictures, symbols, or combination appearing on a label or other appropriate form of warning which convey the specific physical and health hazard(s), including target organ effects, of the chemical(s) in the container(s). (See the definitions for “physical hazard” and “health hazard” to determine the hazards which must be covered).

Health hazard: a chemical for which there is evidence that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees. The term “health hazard” includes chemicals, which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic system, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.

Identity: any chemical or common name which is indicated on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the chemical. The identity used shall permit cross-references to be made among the required list of hazardous chemicals, the label and the MSDS.

Immediate use: the hazardous chemical will be under the control of and used only by the person who transfers it from a labeled container and only within the work shift in which it is transferred.

Label: any written, printed, or graphic material displayed on or affixed to containers of hazardous materials.

Material safety data sheet (MSDS): written or printed material concerning a hazardous chemical, which is prepared in accordance with OSHA Standard 1910.1200 requirements.

Mixture: any combination of two or more chemicals if the combination is not, in whole or in part, the result of a chemical reaction. Oxidizer: means a chemical other than a blasting agent or explosive as defined in 1910.109(a), that ignites or promotes combustion in other materials, thereby causing fire either of itself or through the release of oxygen or other gases.

Physical hazard: a chemical that is a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, explosive, flammable, an organic peroxide, an oxidizer, pyrophoric, unstable (reactive) or water-reactive.

Pyrophoric: a chemical that will ignite spontaneously in air at a temperature of 130 F or below.

Specific chemical identity: the chemical name, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) registry number, or any other information that reveals the precise chemical designation of the substance.

Unstable (reactive): a chemical, which in the pure state, or has produced or transported, will vigorously polymerize, decompose, condense, or will become self-reactive under conditions of shocks, pressure or temperature. Use: to package, handle, react, emit, extract, generate as a byproduct, or transfer.

Water-reactive: a chemical that reacts with water to release a gas that is either flammable or presents a health hazard. Work area: a room or defined space in a workplace where hazardous chemicals are produced or used, and where employees are present.

Workplace: an establishment, job site, or project, at one geographical location containing one or more work areas. MSDS Information Material Safety Data Sheets are provided by the chemical manufacturer to provide additional information concerning safe use of the product. 


  1.  Common Name and Chemical Name of the material.
  2.  Name, address and phone number of the manufacturer.
  3.  Emergency phone numbers for immediate hazard information.
  4.  Date the MSDS was last updated.
  5.  Listing of hazardous ingredients.
  6.  Chemical hazardous ingredients.
  7.  Information for identification of chemical and physical properties. Information 

Chemical Users must know Fire and/or Explosion Information.

  1.  Material Flash Point, auto-ignition temperature and upper/lower flammability limits.
  2.  Proper fire extinguishing agents to be used.
  3.  Fire fighting techniques.
  4.  Any unusual fire or explosive hazards. 

Chemical Reaction Information 

  1.  Stability of Chemical.
  2.  Conditions and other materials that can cause reactions with the chemical.
  3.  Dangerous substances that can be produced when the chemical reacts.

Control Measures

  1.  Engineering Controls required for safe product use.
  2.  Personal protective equipment required for use of product.
  3.  Safe storage requirements and guidelines.
  4.  Safe handling procedures.

Health Hazards

  1.  Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) and Threshold Limit Value (TLV).
  2.  Acute or Chronic symptoms of exposure.
  3.  Main routes of entry into the body.
  4.  Medical conditions that may be made worse by exposure.
  5.  Cancer causing properties, if any.
  6.  Emergency and First Aid treatments.

Spill & Leak Procedures

  1.  Clean up techniques.
  2.  Personal Protective Equipment to be used during cleanup.
  3.  Disposal of waste & cleanup material. 

Employee Use of MSDS

For MSDS use to be effective, employees must:

  1.  Know the location of the MSDS.
  2.  Understand the major points for each chemical.
  3.  Check MSDS when more information is needed or questions arise.
  4.  Be able to quickly locate the emergency information on the MSDS.
  5.  Follow the safety practices provided on the MSDS. Interpretation of MSDS Information There are a number of items that must be completed for every MSDS. These items are divided into sections, which address specific issues as follows:

Section 1 – Materials and Company Identification
Chemical name – usually the IUPAC or CAS name is given. Other common names may also be given. CAS registry number – not required by OSHA, but most state right-to-know laws require it. Date prepared – OSHA requires date literature was prepared or date of latest update.

Section 2 – Materials Composition and Information on Ingredients
Composition of mixtures – includes all hazardous materials over 1%, and all carcinogenic materials over 0.1%. OSHA PEL – either a time weighted average limit for an 8-hour day or a maximum concentration exposure limit for the items on the OSHA list. In ppm or mg/m3. ACGIH TLV – maximum exposure limits recommended by the American Congress of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

Section 3 – Hazards Identification
Health effects – target organs or systems adversely affected by overexposure. Carcinogenicity of materials and tests results. Acute and chronic effects.

Section 4 – First Aid Measures
Treatments for exposure – inhalation, ingestion, eye contact, skin contact.

Section 5 – Fire Fighting Measures
Fire and explosion data usually includes: Flashpoint – temperature at which the chemical vapor can be ignited. Auto ignition temperature – temperature at which chemical ignites spontaneously in air. Flammability limits – concentrations in air above and below which it cannot burn. Recommended extinguishing material. Unusual fire and explosion hazards. Provides basic instructions for addressing fire situation. May include NFPA diamond markings.

Section 6 – Accidental Release Measures
Procedures for cleaning up small and large spills. Cites specific regulations surrounding chemical spills

Section 7 – Handling and Storage
Provides information regarding safe storage of materials. Provides information regarding safe usage of materials.

Section 8 – Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
Types of protective equipment, including gloves, clothing, eye protection, respiratory protection. This section will indicate if a hood, glovebox or extra ventilation is needed. Administrative controls such as pre-placement and periodic medical exams. Also will indicate type of shower or eyewash facility that should be available.

Section 9 – Physical and Chemical Characteristics
Usually includes such chemical information as boiling point, melting point, vapor pressure, specific gravity, solubility in water, and evaporation rate. Physical attribute such as a physical state, appearance and odor.

Section 10 – Stability/Reactivity
Indicates stability of material, what causes instability, incompatibilities and if hazardous decomposition products are possible. Also may include conditions to avoid.

Section 11 – Toxicological Information
Includes one or more of the following: LD50 (lethal dose 50) – lethal single dose (usually oral) in mg/kg (milligrams of chemical per kilogram of animal body weight) of a chemical that results in the death of 50% of a test animal population. LC50 (lethal concentration 50) – concentration dose expressed in ppm for gases or micrograms of material per liter of air for dust or mists that result in the death of 50% of test animal exposure administered in one exposure. May include information about reproductive effects.

Section 12 – Ecological Information
May be used to provide information on the effects the material may have on plants and animals. Provides information regarding the environmental fate of the material.

Section 13 – Disposal Considerations
Appropriate waste disposal methods.

Section 14 – Transport Information
Provides basic shipping requirements – shipping name and classification, packaging requirements and quantity limitations.

Section 15 – Regulatory Information
Cites pertinent EPA and OSHA regulations.

Section 16 – Other Information
Cites references used for construction of the document. May indicate author of document. May provide legal disclaimer.