IX. Hazard Communications Program

 Guidelines

Federal law requires every employer in every workplace to clearly and effectively inform their employees of the potential and existing health and physical hazards and of the appropriate safety precautions associated with the hazardous chemicals to which they are exposed. All logging employers must be in compliance with the OSHA Law for the Hazard Communications Standards as they apply and pertain to logging operations.

Your employees must be informed of the potential health and physical risks and be informed of the appropriate safety precautions and actions associated with hazardous chemicals through chemical information lists, material safety data sheets (MSDS), container labeling and warning, the hazardous chemical right-to-know poster, and employee training and education. The hazard communication program applies to:

  • Known occupational safety and health hazards.
  • Chemicals known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.

Not only is compliance with the law mandatory, it is important to the health and well being of the employees. Compliance with the Hazard Communications Law will allow the employer to avoid being penalized by law and permit valued employees to perform their duties more productively and safely.

Hazard Communications Program basic requirements are:

  1. A written Hazard Communication Program available on the jobsite.
  2. A responsible party in charge of the Hazard Communications Program.
  3. On file an up-to-date inventory list of all hazardous chemicals used and present on the jobsite.
  4. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for every chemical used and present on the jobsite in a designated location at the jobsite.
  5. Labels in good, legible condition and firmly affixed to every hazardous chemical container. Labels shall include the identity of the hazardous chemical, appropriate hazard warning, and name and address of chemical manufacturer, distributor, and other responsible party. Labels shall identify the part of the body which may be affected by contact with the hazardous chemical.
  6. Employees shall have access to the hazardous chemical inventory list(s) and Material Safety Data Sheets at the jobsite during each work shift. Employees may request and must be provided a copy of a MSDS.
  7. All employees working with or handling hazardous chemicals shall be trained and educated in the law, work procedures, nature of the health and physical hazards, appropriate control measures, protection measures, and emergency procedures necessary to reduce employees' exposure.
  8. Specific information in employee safety and training shall include:
    a. General chemical hazards.
    b. Hazards associated with any non-routine tasks.
    c. Recognition, evaluation, and control of hazardous chemicals.
    d. Chemical labeling.
    e. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
    f. Access to hazardous chemical information.
    g. Compliance with safety and health rules and regulations.
    h. Requirements of federal hazardous communications regulations.
    i. Specific hazards present in the workplace and on the jobsite.
    j. Location and availability of the written hazard communications program and all supporting information.
    k. Measures employees can take to protect themselves from hazards including pertinent work practices, company emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment.
  9. Training shall be documented for every employee and available and presented as required by law. These are the basic requirements for implementing and complying with the Hazard Communications Program. You are urged to contact applicable state and federal regulatory offices to obtain more details of the law and its requirements.