Hazardous Material Requirements

An important part of complying with OSHA's workplace safety rules is making sure that you deal appropriately with hazardous materials. However, OSHA isn't concerned merely with actual safety precautions. It also places a great deal of focus on paperwork and, in particular, with your following the regulations that require recordkeeping and communication about potential hazards.

If your business involves hazardous materials, you have to maintain records and communicate information to two entities employees and community emergency organizations. In general, all businesses are subject to rules regarding:

Your obligation to provide information to employees and others varies, depending on the nature of your business. Basically, you must:

Chemical defined. The term "chemical" is defined broadly as "any element, chemical compound, or mixture of the two." These regulations apply to every known chemical in the workplace, plus chemicals used in an emergency.

Exceptions. Regulations do not apply to:

State law. When states regulate this process, generally the focus is on increasing access of local safety officials and health care providers to the material that the company must maintain on hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Enforcement. Enforcement of the employer requirements for employee communication is achieved by requiring comprehensive hazard communication programs, including: