WAC 296-800-170 sets requirements for information and training on hazardous chemicals used in the workplace. This regulation is commonly referred to as the “Worker and Community Right to Know Act.”

Employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to when working. They also need to know what protective measures are available to prevent adverse effects from occurring.

State regulations help employers provide safer workplaces for their employees. When employers have information about the chemicals being used, they can take steps to reduce exposures, substitute less hazardous material, and establish proper work practices. These efforts will help prevent the occurrence of work-related illnesses and injuries caused by chemicals.

A Hazard Communication program will be implemented for all departments. The written program will designate responsibilities and standard operating procedures. The program must be followed, as closely as possible, not only to comply with regulations, but to assure employees are not at risk of injury or illness caused by chemicals in the workplace.


To ensure information regarding the dangers of all hazardous chemicals used by Whitman College are known by all affected employees, the following hazardous information program has been established:

All divisions of the College will participate in the Hazard Communication Program. The written program will be available for review by any interested employee. Copies will be kept in the Safety Office at North Hall 103.


Each department supervisor will verify all containers in the department/workplace, received for use will be clearly labeled as to the contents, the appropriate hazard warning, and the name and address of the manufacturer.

Each department supervisor will ensure all secondary containers used in the department/workplace are labeled with either a copy of the original manufacturer’s warning label or with labels having the identity and the appropriate hazard warning. For help with labeling, contact the Safety Coordinator ext. 5946 or the Chemical Hygiene Officer for Academics ext. 5272.

Chemicals supplied by a manufacturer, importer or distributor will have appropriate health and /or physical hazards identified on labels affixed to the packaging per OSHA 29 CFR 1920.1200. Appropriate measures will be taken to maintain the labels on all original containers until such time as the container is properly disposed of.

When a chemical is transferred from its original container into another container for in-service use, such as a safety can or individual dispensing container, a label will be attached to that container. The label will contain the name of the product, its physical and health hazards, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by the individual using the product.


A hazardous material does not need to be labeled if it is transferred into a temporary container for immediate use by the person making the transfer. “Immediate” means during the same work shift. However, if the material is to be stored in the container or if it is to be used by someone else, the container must be labeled.

The Safety Coordinator will review the College labeling procedures annually and update as required.


The Safety Coordinator and each department supervisor are responsible for establishing and monitoring the department/workplace MSDS program. They will make sure procedures are developed to obtain the necessary MSDS’s and will review incoming MSDS’s for new or significant health and safety information. They will assure any new information is passed on the affected employees.

Copies of MSDS’s for all hazardous chemicals in the department/workplace will be kept in a location readily accessible to all employees during their work shift.

For assistance with MSDS’s contact the Safety Coordinator, ext. 5946 or the Chemical Hygiene Officer for Academics, ext. 5272.


The Safety Coordinator, the Chemical Hygiene Officer for Academics (CHOA) and each department supervisor are responsible for the employee training program. New or transferred employees will receive training in at minimum the following areas, prior to beginning their duties;

  • An overview of the requirements contained in the Hazard Communication Program
  • The identity of hazardous chemicals present at the work site.
  • The physical and health risks of the hazardous chemicals
  • The symptoms of overexposure.
  • How to determine the presence or release of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
  •  How to reduce or prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals through use of control procedures, work practices and PPE.
  • Steps the College has taken to reduce or prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  • How to read labels and review MSDS’s to obtain hazard information.
  • The location of the MSDS file and written Hazard Communication Program.

Prior to introducing a new chemical hazard into the workplace, each employee in the department/workplace will be given information and training as outlined above for the new chemical hazard.


Periodically, employees are required to perform hazardous non-routine tasks. Prior to starting work on such projects, each affected employee will be given information about the hazardous chemicals the employee may encounter during such activity. This information will include known chemical hazards, protective and safety measures the employee must use, such as ventilation, respirators, the buddy system, and emergency procedures.


It is the responsibility of the department supervisor, director, or CHOA to provide employers of any other employees at the workplace, copies of MSDS’s, or to make the location of the MSDS file known and available, for any hazardous chemicals the other employers employees may be exposed to while working. All other employers will be informed of any precautionary measures needed to protect employees during normal operating conditions or in emergencies. Employers shall be provided an explanation of the labeling system used at the worksite.


The following is a list of all known hazardous chemicals used in this work area. Further information on each chemical may be obtained by reviewing MSDS information. This list will be updated as new hazardous chemicals are introduced into the work area.