Maryland Right to Know/ Hazard Communication laws & HR compliance analysis

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

The hazard communication standard (HCS), or worker “right-to-know” law, regulates how information about workplace chemical hazards is communicated to employees. As with most workplace health and safety standards, worker right-to-know laws have developed in large part according to standards adopted under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), a federal law. Individual states may devise and administer their own work safety laws and regulations, but only if the state program has federal approval. To qualify for approval, a state plan must be at least as stringent as the federal law.
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The federal law is basically a disclosure rule that requires private employers with hazardous substances in their workplaces to develop comprehensive hazard communication programs, and to inform and train their employees about chemical hazards in the workplace. There is a detailed discussion of the federal regulations.
Maryland is a “state-plan” state; that is, it has adopted appropriate laws and regulations, has gained approval from federal authorities, and now operates its own work safety program applying to both private and public (state and local government) sector workplaces (MD Labor and Employment Code Sec. 5-101et seq.). Maryland has adopted the federal HCS, as well as additional training, recording, and reporting responsibilities that are stricter than federal law (MD Labor and Employment Code Sec. 5-405).
No wood products exclusion. The federal law's exclusion for employers that produce, use, or store wood and wood products does not apply in Maryland.
Workplace chemical list. Employers must keep a chemical information list recounting every hazardous chemical in the workplace and a ...

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