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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 20

Industrial Hygiene – Hazard Communication Protection Program

20.1 Purpose. To specify the minimum Occupational Safety and Health Program (Program) requirements for providing personnel adequate protection from chemical, physical and/or biological stressors, such as noise, chemical exposures, excessive temperatures, dusts, mists, and vapors within the Department of the Interior (Department or DOI) and U.S. Geological Survey (Bureau or USGS).

20.2 References.

A.  OSHA, 29 CFR 1910.1200, Hazard Communication.

B.  29 CFR 1910. 1450, Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories.

20.3 Scope. The Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Program applies to all USGS government and contract personnel who work with hazardous materials as a part of their assigned job duties or who may otherwise have the potential for hazardous exposure to chemicals or materials that pose either a physical or health hazard. This chapter supplements those requirements established by OSHA, 29 CFR 1910.1200.

20.4. Requirements.

A.  The USGS shall provide a HAZCOM Program for employees potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals. The written program will comply with current OSHA regulations, as a minimum.

B.  Inventories shall be maintained for all areas where hazardous materials are used or stored.

C.  All chemical containers shall be appropriately labeled. All secondary containers (i.e., beakers, flasks, bottles, safety cans, etc.) shall be labeled if the substance is to be kept in this container past the immediate work shift or if the container will be transported away from the immediate work area. Label shall include complete hazard warnings as listed on the manufacturers label if taken out of the immediate work area. Chemical formulas or nonspecific names such as “Mixture A” are not acceptable identifiers. Even innocuous substances must be labeled to avoid confusion.

D.  All personnel working with hazardous chemicals shall receive training. Training shall be as chemical specific as possible. If work procedures involve various chemicals of similar hazard (i.e. flammable solvents), then general safety training applicable to these chemicals may be given. Chemicals with unique hazard(s) must be addressed specifically.

E.  Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s) and other hazardous chemical references as appropriate shall be readily available for all hazardous chemicals on the inventory.

F.  Procedures for controlling the procurement of chemicals shall be established to prevent excess stockpiles. Procedures shall also be established to identify and dispose of expired materials.

G.  Although most USGS personnel do not handle hazardous materials as part of their job duties, they may occasionally use consumer-type products (office supplies, glue, oil, paint, batteries, etc.) that if used improperly, could become hazardous. Consumer-type products are exempt from HAZCOM requirements (i.e., inventory, MSDS, user training) if used in the workplace in the manner, duration and frequency of exposure is not greater than that expected in normal consumer use. Regardless, all personnel are required to read and follow warning labels and manufacturers’ precautions for the safe use of these products.

H.  Contract personnel and visitors to the site of hazardous operations or environments where special safety precautions are required shall subject themselves to the same level of protection as required of USGS personnel as a condition of remaining in the area.

20.5.  Responsibilities.

A.  Bureau Safety Manager/Bureau Industrial Hygienist.

(1)  Develops Bureau-wide HAZCOM Program policy and guidance.

(2)  Provides technical advice and guidance to Regional Safety Managers in development of a HAZCOM Program.

(3)  Maintains a master inventory of regional controlled hazardous materials/chemicals.

(4)  Evaluates Regional Headquarters and regional science program effectiveness and make recommendations for improvements during regional evaluations.

(5)  Assists Regional Safety Managers in the development of tools to facilitate organizational completion/updating chemical/hazardous material inventories.

B.  Regional Safety Managers.

(1)  Provide regional HAZCOM Program guidance and oversight.

(2)  Provide technical advice and guidance to Regional Safety Officers in development of a HAZCOM Program.

(3)  Annually assesses regional program effectiveness and makes recommendations for improvements, inclusive of reviewing chemical inventories.

(4)  Assist Regional Safety Managers in the development of HAZCOM Programs and tools to assist simplify organizational completion and updating of chemical and hazardous material inventories.

C.  Regional Safety Officer.

(1)  Review science program field location chemical inventories during field inspections and evaluations.

(2)  Assist science program management, Collateral Duty Safety and Environmental Program Coordinators and Chemical Hygiene Officer in the development of hazard communication programs, and tools to simplify organizational completion and updating of chemical and hazardous inventories during safety evaluations and inspections.

D.  Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators (CDSPC’s) and Chemical Hygiene Officers (CHO’s).

(1)  Assist in maintaining hazardous material/chemical inventories.

(2)  Assist supervisors and field level training officers in coordinating, conducting, and documenting employee 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 in the maintenance of MSDS and other hazardous material references.

(5)  Assist supervisors in evaluating hazard communication program compliance to assure a written HAZCOM program is established and implemented within their jurisdiction, in accordance with applicable OSHA, DOI, and USGS requirements. A template plan may be downloaded from

E.  Organizational Managers and Supervisors/Project Chiefs/Laboratory Supervisors.

(1)  Maintain an accurate hazardous materials inventory for areas under their jurisdiction. This inventory may be accomplished in conjunction with the organizational inventory mentioned within this Handbook. At a minimum, the inventory shall include the chemical name, chemical quantity/unit of measurement, location (building and room), chemical hazard classification, and the custodian name/telephone number. Ensure steps are taken to identify and monitor chemicals with expiration dates.

(2)  Make readily available MSDS’s to employees and establish a central hazardous chemical reference library containing MSDS’s and other hazardous chemical reference materials either in the safety office or other location(s) to allow employees timely emergency and non-emergency access.

(3)  Monitor procurement to ensure excess or duplicate chemical orders are prevented and request an MSDS whenever a new hazardous material is ordered; maintain a list of restricted chemicals to be purchased only with the approval of organizational management or authorized representative.

(4)  Periodically monitor personnel compliance with HCP requirements.

(5)  Provide personnel covered by the scope of this chapter initial training upon beginning work and whenever a new physical or health hazard is introduced into their work area that the personnel have not previously been trained. Personnel refresher training is required every three years.  Information and training may be designed to cover categories of hazards (e.g., flammability, toxicity) or specific chemicals. Chemical-specific information must always be available through labels and material safety data sheets.

(6)  Document personnel training.

(7)  Establish and implement a written HAZCOM program at all facilities within their jurisdiction in accordance with applicable OSHA, DOI, and USGS requirements.  A template plan may be downloaded from

(8)  Maintain a list of restricted chemicals that are only purchased with the approval of organizational management or designee.

F. Personnel.

(1)  Participate in all training and follow all safety/health instruction and standard operating procedures and personal protective equipment requirements.

(2)  Report any hazardous conditions, exposures, or unusual circumstances to supervisor(s).

(3)  Forward a copy of MSDS’s for each hazardous material received into the workplace CDSPC or otherwise maintained on file.

(4)  Plan and conduct all hazardous material operations in accordance with established guidance.

(5)  Periodically review MSDS’s or other hazard information sources to maintain knowledge of hazards and precautions.

G.  Contracting Officer’s Representative.

(1)  Informs contractor personnel of worksite hazards (chemicals, asbestos, etc.), as applicable.

(2)  Monitors contractor enforcement and maintenance of an adequate HAZCOM Program in accordance with OSHA standards.

(3)  Establishes provisions within the contract requiring the contractor to provide MSDS’s to the facility CDSPC or Regional Safety Officer/Manager as applicable for hazardous materials brought on to USGS property by the contractor. Ensures that MSDS’s are provided prior to work commencement.

20.6. Additional Resources.

A.  Hazard Communication Booklet (OSHA),

B.  Exposure Limits for Air Contaminants,

C.  Chemical Resistance Guide,

D.  Table of Incompatible Chemicals (Chemical Compatibility Guide),

E.  Select Carcinogen List,

F.  Material Safety Data Sheet and Chemical Safety Resources

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
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Last modification: 27-Oct-2004@15:05 (kk)