Massachusetts Hazard Communication laws & safety compliance analysis

Massachusetts Hazard Communication : What you need to know

· Rules. The federal OSH Act governs the private sector (private businesses and nonprofit organizations) workplace in Massachusetts. For a detailed discussion of the federal standard, see the national section HAZARD COMMUNICATION STANDARD.

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Massachusetts has its own worker right-to-know law (HSDEA) that applies to public sector workplaces. This law is not federally approved; therefore, it is preempted by federal OSHA in the private sector workplace and applies to the public sector (state, county, and municipal government offices and operations, except armories and police stations where ammunition is stored) workplace only. The workplace portion of the law follows the requirements of the federal hazard communication standard, with additional exemptions for coverage under the law, and requirements for container labeling, posting of notices, employee access to MSDSs, and employee training and education.

· Administration and enforcement. OSHA administers and enforces the private sector worker right-to-know laws. DLS administers and enforces the state’s public sector worker right-to-know rules.

454 CMR 21.01

The Massachusetts worker right-to-know law applies to all public sector employers where employees are, have been, or may be exposed to toxic or hazardous substances in the workplace. A municipality, county, or state facility may assume that all chemicals that have an MSDS listing any type of hazard are covered by the worker right-to-know law.


"Consumer" products (i.e., office supplies, foodstuffs, gasoline, fuel oils, alcoholic beverages and articles) are exempt, unless the substance is listed as a carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, neurotoxin, or ...

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