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Hazard Communication (HAZCOM)

UMD is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, students and visitors. Individuals who work with or near hazardous substances need to be aware of the identity, potential physical and health hazards, and the safe work practices that can minimize exposure. To assure individual health and safety, and meet regulatory requirements, UMD EHS has developed the Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Program to address how to classify chemical hazards, and communicate the hazards and safeguards required to protect individuals from exposure to those hazards.

The HAZCOM program describes the responsibilities of department managers, supervisors, principal investigators (PI), Chemical Hygiene Officers (CHO), employees, students, contractors, visitors and EHS. Protection from hazards provided by the program is meant to be consistent, whether in a chemical laboratory or in non-laboratory workplaces such as shops, custodial, maintenance services and transportation facilities.

Supervisors and PIs, regardless of where they work, are required to train their employees on the hazards of the chemicals used in the workplace. Chemical hazard information for all workplaces is covered under our written HAZCOM Plan.

UMD personnel who work in laboratories should refer to the Chemical Hygiene Plan for hazard communication and additional requirements specific for laboratory chemical use.

The major components of the HAZCOM Program are to:

  • Assign program responsibilities.
  • Identify hazardous chemicals in work areas.
  • Maintain a chemical inventory in the CEMS database system for each work area.
  • Ensure employees have ready access to safety data sheets (SDS) for each chemical in the inventory.
  • Label chemical containers.
  • Assess chemical hazards and develop safe use procedures.
  • Train employees in work task hazards and safe work practices.
  • Document chemical hazard assessments, safe use procedures and training.

Hazardous chemicals include, but are not limited to, chemicals, paints, adhesives, cleaning products, disinfecting agents, compressed gases, art supplies and pesticides.

Some examples of non-laboratory work areas where hazardous chemicals may be used, transported or stored include:

  • Facilities/maintenance shops and supply rooms

  • Art, ceramics, and other studios

  • Paint spray booths

  • Teaching areas

  • Vehicle maintenance and garages

  • Welding areas

  • Custodial operations

  • Clinics for patient care

  • Pesticide use areas indoors or outdoors

  • Research areas that are not laboratories (field work, animal care areas, chemical prep rooms)

The HAZCOM Program applies to all UMD employees, students and visitors at all University locations including satellite campuses under the control of UMD operations where chemicals are used, transported, stored or manufactured.

Specific hazard communication regulations also apply to chemical manufacturers, distributors and importers. UMD must comply with these regulations when researchers or others develop a new chemical or chemical product, including the development of safety data sheets (SDS) and chemical labeling.

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