Environmental Health and Safety

Effective Date: 11/03/00

Policy Statement 17: Hazard Communication Standard


The N. C. O. S. H. Hazard Communication Standard (as amended June 27, 1985, from the Federal Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 by the N.C. Department of Labor), has been adopted by the N. C. General Assembly. It is intended to address comprehensively the issue of evaluating and communicating chemical hazards to employees. This transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, material safety data sheets (MSDS) and employee training. (For more detailed information consult the Hazard Communication Written Program.)


All departments that manufacture, process, use or store hazardous chemicals must maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet file. This file will contain an MSDS for each hazardous material controlled by their department. The MSDS file must be readily available to any employee who is working with the hazardous material upon his/her request. When a new hazardous material is introduced in the department and an MSDS is not received, one must be requested from the Environmental Health and Safety Office. If the MSDS is received from a source other than Environmental Health and Safety Office, a copy of the MSDS must be sent to the Environmental Health and Safety Office for the MSDS master file. Hazardous materials inventories must be maintained by each department and the University as a whole, and must be updated annually.


It is the supervisors responsibility to train any employee under them how to interpret the MSDS and the safe usage of the hazardous materials with which they may come in contact. They must also be informed on the specifics of this regulation and how they can attain access to the written program.


Personnel from the Environmental Health and Safety Office are available for assistance and consultation concerning the Hazard Communication Standard. Training for supervisors is also available. For a more detailed explanation of this standard and its requirements, call the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Right-to-Know Act

The North Carolina General Assembly has adopted the Hazardous Chemical Right to Know Act, GS 95-173 through 95-218 and set a compliance date of May 25, 1986. The "Right to Know" act simply provides to citizens and firefighters the opportunity to learn about hazardous substances used by North Carolina employers. Any hazardous chemical normally used or stored by East Carolina University in quantities of at least 55 gallons or 500 pounds must be included on the Hazardous Substance List. This list must contain the chemical name or common name used on the MSDS or container label. Also, it must be classified by quantity as stated in the regulations. MSDS must be maintained for each chemical on the list. In addition, a copy of the Hazardous Substance List must be forwarded to the local Fire Chief and upon his request, copies of the MSDS for all listed chemicals. The main reason for Hazardous Chemical Right to Know Act is to provide firefighters, medical personnel, and the public with information on hazardous chemicals being used or stored in their community, so that in case of an emergency, these people may respond and perform their duties accordingly.