Texas Tech University


[Major revision–posted 10/17/22 (replaces 9/21/21 edition)]
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Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 60.02: Hazard Communication Act

DATE: October 17, 2022

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to set out responsibilities for Texas Tech University's Hazard Communication (HAZCOMM) program and ensure the university is compliant with both federal and state Hazard Communication Standards.

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in September of every fourth year by the Assistant Vice President for Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) with substantive revisions forwarded through the Associate Vice President for Research (Research Integrity) to the Vice President for Research & Innovation.


1.  References

Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart Z, § 1910.1200, and Title 25 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 295, Subchapter A

2.  Introduction

Chemicals pose a wide range of health hazards (such as irritation, sensitization, and carcinogenicity) and physical hazards (such as flammability, corrosion, and reactivity). Hazard communication programs are intended to convey information about these hazards and associated protective measures to personnel using the chemicals. Chemical manufacturers and importers must evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import and inform users of those hazards through container labels and more detailed information sheets called safety data sheets (SDS). Employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must prepare and implement a written hazard communication program that ensures that all containers are labeled, employees are provided access to SDS, and an effective training program is conducted for all potentially exposed employees.

3.  Scope and Application

a.    The Texas Tech University (university) HAZCOMM program applies to employees, contractors, and tenants in university facilities who work with or are potentially exposed to hazardous workplace chemicals in any university facility or worksite, at research sites off-campus, or on university leased property with the following exceptions:

(1)    Provisions of the university HAZCOMM program do not apply to chemicals used in research laboratories under the supervision or guidance of a technically qualified individual.

(2)    Provisions of the university HAZCOMM program do not apply to chemicals used by university employees, contractors, or tenants in a manner, frequency, and quantity similar to consumer use.

4.  Terms and Definitions

a.    Affected user – Individual (either employee, contractor, or tenant) who may be exposed to hazardous workplace chemicals under normal operating conditions or in foreseeable emergencies.

b.    Consumer use – Use of a product or compound in a fashion similar to how the chemical would be used by a consumer. This assumes the material in question is (1) a consumer product, (2) is used in accordance with its labeling, and (3) is used with similar frequency and in similar amounts as a consumer. For example, infrequent office cleaning using consumer cleaning products is considered consumer use.

c.    Hazard statement – Statement that identifies the nature of the chemical hazard and the degree of hazard (warning/caution/danger).

d.    Hazardous workplace chemical – An element, compound, or a mixture of elements and/or compounds that presents a physical or health hazard as defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200 (c), or is a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, or a pyrophoric gas. In general, chemicals and products where the manufacturer or distributor provides an SDS should be considered hazardous.

e.    Primary container – A container for a workplace hazardous chemical that is provided by the manufacturer or distributor and has compliant label and Department of Transportation (DOT) markings as appropriate.

f.    Secondary container – A container other than the original container that is used to hold a small amount of a chemical or product for immediate use.

5.  Responsibilities

a.    EH&S Department will:

(1)    Provide a responsible person to oversee program—Manager of Occupational Safety;

(2)    Perform external audits of departmental programs as needed;

(3)    Provide  online access to updated chemical and product safety information including SDS;

(4)    Maintain model written HAZCOMM program and evaluate amended local programs;

(5)    Provide HAZCOMM training materials as needed;

(6)    Ensure university HAZCOMM program meets regulatory requirements and current best practices; and

(7)    Annually provide local emergency management system representative with names and contact info of university personnel to be contacted in chemical emergencies requiring external response.

b.    Division, department, or business entity using or storing the hazardous workplace chemicals will:

(1)    Assign a person responsible for local program oversight—local program administrator;

(2)    Develop or adopt a written HAZCOMM program and ensure all elements are followed by employees;

(3)    Ensure containers of hazardous workplace chemicals are properly labeled;

(4)    Inventory hazardous workplace chemicals in use, stored, or handled by affected users and their storage location and provide an updated list to EH&S annually;

(5)    Ensure that hazardous workplace chemicals have a corresponding SDS available for review by affected users;

(6)    Ensure affected users have prompt access to SDS;

(7)    Ensure affected users are trained to safely use and handle hazardous chemicals in the workplace prior to potential exposure;

(8)    Inform EH&S if conditions arise that require a change to implemented HAZCOMM program;

(9)    Report all incidents and near-misses involving hazardous workplace chemicals to EH&S Occupational Safety; and

(10)   Enforce disciplinary measures associated with program non-compliance.

c.    Affected user will:

(1)    Follow all applicable elements of the HAZCOMM program; and

(2)    Stop observed unsafe behavior and report to departmental local program administrator or EH&S.

6.  Program Elements

Individual divisions, departments, or other subdivisions of university operations may develop a HAZCOMM program for their operations (local program) or adopt the model program referenced in this OP. Local programs other than the model program must be reviewed and approved by EH&S prior to implementation. All university HAZCOMM programs will contain the following elements:

a.    Title and date of the current version of the program.

b.    Purpose – The purpose of the HAZCOMM program must be defined.

c.    Scope and application – The scope of the program, including affected users and geographic area of coverage, must be defined. Local programs must list the workplaces, buildings, or worksites to which the program applies.

d.    Responsibilities and authority – Responsibilities of key personnel and the authority for the program and its enforcement/disciplinary measures must be defined.

e.    Program components – HAZCOMM program must be in writing and outline policies to ensure affected users are aware of hazardous chemicals in the workplace and have sufficient information and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to work safely with those materials. Program must have provisions for ensuring that it, the hazardous chemical inventory, and associated SDS are available to affected users.

f.    Hazardous chemical inventory – Hazardous workplace chemicals in use shall be inventoried and their storage location (by worksite or facility) identified. Provisions for annual inventory updating and auditing will be included in the program and records of inventories will be kept for at least 30 years.

g.    Hazardous chemical container labeling – Container labels are an affected user's primary way of identifying hazardous workplace chemicals. The program will ensure manufacturer and shipping labels are maintained on primary containers and replaced if damaged or obscured. Secondary containers will be appropriately labeled by the user with full name as shown on the SDS and appropriate hazard statements.

h.    Safety Data Sheets (SDS) – SDS provide users with additional information regarding the safe use and storage of hazardous workplace chemicals. HAZCOMM programs must demonstrate affected user access to SDS as needed. SDS information will be maintained for at least 30 years after use. EH&S can provide cloud-based access to a large collection of SDS, or a local program may maintain their own collection on-site. Program will contain procedures for obtaining missing SDS, conduct of regular audits of SDS, and archiving of SDS for chemicals/products no longer in use.

i.    Training – HAZCOMM program will outline training for affected users to be conducted prior to potential exposure to hazardous workplace chemicals and define required training topics. Training will be renewed to reflect changes in the workplace chemical inventory. Training records are to be retained for at least five years.

j.    Informing other employers/contractors – Contractors and other non-university personnel may be exposed to hazardous workplace chemicals in university workspaces and/or they may bring these items into university workspaces. The HAZCOMM program will require contractors and tenants to make chemical inventories and corresponding SDS available prior to starting work. Contractor and tenant personnel will be informed of university hazardous workplace chemicals in use where they are stationed and informed of procedures to obtain SDS for those materials.

k.    Program review and compliance – Program will set out provisions for periodic review at a frequency of no less than once every five years and revisions to program will be tracked. Divisions, departments, or other business entities found operating without a current, reviewed HAZCOMM program in place will be audited by EH&S staff and may be restricted in the chemicals they may employ until a viable local HAZCOMM program is established.

l.    Signatures – Local programs must be signed and dated by a member of the department and a representative of EH&S.

Operating Policies & Procedures