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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 20

Hazard Communication Protection Program

Instruction:  This chapter is revised to include changes to the hazard communication standards and to the Bureau’s organizational structure and roles and responsibilities.

1.  Purpose.  To implement the requirements of a hazard communication program through which information is provided to USGS employees about the hazardous chemicals they use, handle, and procure, and to which they are exposed.  This includes labeling and other forms of warnings, safety data sheets, and employee information and training.

2.  Scope.

A.  The hazard communication program applies to all USGS employees who use or purchase chemicals, prepare chemical solutions and mixtures (including preparing laboratory chemical mixtures), or are otherwise exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

B.  Requirements in this chapter for labeling, maintaining a list of hazardous chemicals, safety data sheets, and information and training, are applicable to use and handling of chemicals within the laboratory.  Further requirements for handling and using laboratory chemicals are found in SM 445-2-H.21 Laboratory Protection Program.

C.  Packaging, marking, and labeling of chemicals for transport shall, at a minimum, be in accordance with 49 CFR 172.

3.  Reference.  29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.1200 Hazard Communication.

4.  Requirements.

A.  Each USGS workplace that uses and/or handles hazardous materials shall implement and maintain a written hazard communication program that specifies the requirements for labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and employee information and training.  The written program shall be readily available to employees. A written Hazard Communication Program template is available internally and may be downloaded from

Exception: For use of chemicals within the laboratory, the laboratory’s Chemical Hygiene Plan shall be implemented in accordance with SM 445-2-H.21 Laboratory Protection Program.  

B.  A list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present at each site shall be maintained and shall be periodically updated to reflect the chemicals at each site.  The list shall include a product identifier that is referenced on the appropriate safety data sheet, the chemical name, chemical quantity/unit of measurement, location (building and room), chemical hazard classification, and the custodian name/telephone number. 

C.  The local written hazard communication program shall have provisions for providing contractors with hazardous chemical information when necessary.

D.  Contracts shall require the contractor to provide safety data sheets to the facility Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator or Regional Safety Manager, as applicable, for hazardous chemicals brought on to USGS property by the contractor.

E.  Labeling.

(1)  All chemical containers shall be appropriately labeled as follows:

(a)  With the manufacturer’s label that includes, the product identifier, signal word, hazard statements, pictograms, precautionary statements, and the name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party, or

(b)  With a workplace label that includes the product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, and which provides general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals.

(2)  Labels on containers of hazardous chemicals shall not be removed or defaced.

(3)  All secondary containers (i.e., beakers, flasks, bottles, safety cans) shall be labeled if the container’s contents are not used up within the same work shift or if the container is transported away from the immediate work area.  Labeling of secondary containers shall comply with this section.  Chemical formulas or nonspecific names such as “Mixture A” are not acceptable identifiers.

(4)  Laboratories that prepare hazardous chemical solutions or mixtures for shipping or use by another site shall label containers of prepared mixtures or solutions leaving the laboratory.  Labels of prepared solutions and mixtures shall include the information detailed in 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix C.   

F.  Safety Data Sheets.

(1)  The chemicals’ safety data sheets received shall be maintained in the workplace for each hazardous chemical, and shall be readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area.

(2)  Laboratories that prepare hazardous chemical solutions or mixtures for shipping or use by another site shall develop a safety data sheet for the solution or mixture and forward the safety data sheet to the user.

(a)  Safety data sheets developed by the laboratory shall include the specific sections and information detailed in 29 CFR 1910.1200 Appendix D.

(b)  Information from the safety data sheets of individual components of mixtures or solutions prepared by the laboratory may be used in developing the safety data sheet for the new solution or mixture.

(3)  Safety data sheets for chemicals no longer used shall be maintain by the cost center for the purpose of retrieval as historical and exposure documentation for investigations, site decommissioning, clean up, etc., as needed.  Safety data sheets must be maintained as exposure records for 30 years per 29 CFR 1910.1020. 

G.  Information and Training.

(1)  Employees shall be provided with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area at the time of their initial assignment, and whenever a new chemical hazard is introduced into their work area.  Training shall be for each chemical or chemical classification, as appropriate e.g., flammables, caustics.  Chemicals with unique hazard(s) shall be addressed specifically.

(2)  Information shall include:

(a)  The requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard Communication.

(b)  Any operations in their work area where hazardous chemicals are present.

(c)  The location and availability of the written hazard communication program, including the list of hazardous chemicals and safety data sheets.

(3)  Training shall include:

(a)  Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical in the work area, such as exposure monitoring, continuous monitoring devices, visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals when being released, etc.

(b)  The physical characteristics and hazards of workplace chemicals.

(c)  Measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment to be used.

(d)  Details of the hazard communication program, including an explanation of the labels on containers and the workplace labeling system, safety data sheet, and how employees can obtain and use the information.

H.  Procedures shall be established for controlling the procurement of chemicals to prevent excess stockpiles, reviewing and approving high hazard or restricted chemicals, and tracking and discarding expired chemicals.

I.  Contractors and visitors to a site where hazardous chemicals are used by Bureau employees shall comply with safety precautions that meet the same level of protection as required of Bureau employees as a condition of remaining in the area.

5.  Responsibilities.

A.  Director.  Directs Hazard Communication Program activities through the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, who, for the Bureau, is the Associate Director for Administration

B.  Associate Directors and Regional Directors.

(1)  Ensure that financial resources are provided to local sites to implement and comply with the hazard communication program.

(2)  Ensure managers and supervisors are accountable for ensuring compliance with hazard communication requirements.

(3)  Ensure program deficiencies are abated in a timely manner.

C.  Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official.  Provides appropriate personnel and budgetary resources to establish and maintain a bureau-wide hazard communication program.

D. Chief, Office of Management Services

(1)  Assigns Hazard Communication responsibilities to the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager for Bureau program management and administration.

(2)  Ensures OMS staff has sufficient authority, resources, and qualifications to effectively support regional and national capabilities industrial hygiene needs.

E.  Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager.

(1)  Develops Bureau-wide hazard communication program policy and guidance documents.

(2)  Oversees the implementation of the hazard communication program.

(3)  Evaluates bureau-wide program implementation providing feedback to senior management on successes and gaps in the bureau program.

(4)  Provides program and technical guidance in implementing the hazard communication program.

(5)  Provides for tools to facilitate implementation of the bureau hazard communication program, as needed.

(6)  Assist the national capabilities and facilities in developing and implementing written hazard communication programs.

(7)  Conduct program evaluations to assess the effectiveness of regional and national capabilities hazard communication programs in accordance with SM 445-2-H.5 Program Evaluations.

(8)  Conduct external audits of national capabilities programs that include auditing compliance with hazard communication program requirements.

(9)  Assist national capabilities management and their safety personnel in the development of site hazard communication programs, and the completion and updating of hazardous chemical lists.

F.  Regional Safety Managers.

(1)  Provide guidance and assistance to local sites, as appropriate, in implementing the hazard communication program.

(2)  Annually assess regional program effectiveness and make recommendations for improvements.

(3)  Review chemical lists during external inspections and audits.

(4)  Assist regional and center management and Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators in the development of site hazard communication programs, and the completion and updating of hazardous chemical lists.

G.  Science Center Managers and Supervisors.

(1)  Maintain an updated list of hazardous chemicals used by their employees and/or stored at their sites.

(2)  Make safety data sheets readily available to employees during all shifts.

(3)  Monitor procurement of hazardous chemicals to prevent excess or duplicate chemical orders.

(4)  Ensure employee compliance with hazard communication program requirements.

(5)  Ensure employees receive hazard communication training and required information.

(6)  Document employee hazard communication training.

(7)  Establish and implement a written hazard communication program at all facilities within their jurisdiction.

H.  Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators.

(1)  Assist cost and science center management in maintaining and updating hazardous chemical lists and safety data sheets.

(2)  Assist supervisors in coordinating, conducting, and documenting employee hazard communication training.

(3)  Assist supervisors in maintaining a list of restricted chemicals that should only be purchased with the approval of management or designated representative.

(4)  Assist supervisors in evaluating hazard communication program compliance to assure a written hazard communication program is established and implemented within their jurisdiction.

I.  Employees.

(1)  Participate in hazard communication training and comply with hazard communication program requirements, guidance, standard operating procedures, and appropriate personal protective equipment requirements.

(2)  Report to supervisors any hazardous conditions, exposures, or unusual circumstances that result in use or release of hazardous chemicals.

(3)  Periodically review safety data sheets and other information on hazardous chemicals prior to use to ensure the understanding of the chemical hazards and precautions to take.

Paul M. McEnrue /s/_____________________________    _8/22/2014_____
Paul M. McEnrue                                                                   Date
Acting Associate Director for Administration

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