California Right to Know/ Hazard Communication: What you need to know

Hazard communication standards, or worker “right-to-know” laws, regulate how information about workplace chemical hazards is communicated to employees. Like most workplace health and safety standards, worker right-to-know laws have developed according to standards adopted under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which regulates worker right-to-know rules for pesticide applicators. Right-to-know compliance under the OSH Act is part of every Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection, regardless of the underlying reason for the inspection. Worker right-to-know violations are the most frequent source of OSHA citations. Beyond the physical dangers a violation may create for employees and employers, substantial fines may be imposed, making right-to-know compliance a high priority for just about every employer (29 CFR 1910.1200).
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California's worker safety and health laws apply to private (businesses and nonprofit organizations) and public (state and local governments, schools, commissions, etc.) sector employers. California has its own hazard communication standard (CA Lab. Code Sec. 6360et seq., CA Code Regs. Tit. 8 Sec. 5194). The state's hazard communication standard differs from the federal standard in that:
· The state standard requires that each material safety data sheet (MSDS) must contain certain information including chemical abstract service names (unless disclosure could reveal a trade secret).
· The state standard specifically requires a description in lay terms of the particular potential health risks posed by the hazardous substance, while the federal standard ...

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