Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

October 21, 2013


Health hazards in construction - part 3

Sample written hazard communication plan

Construction industry employers in Oregon receive more citations for violations of lead, asbestos, hazard communication, and respiratory protection standards than other health standards.

In part 3 of this series, the Construction Depot explains the requirements of the written hazard communication plan [1910.1200(e), Hazard Communication], which are often overlooked by contractors. Does your workplace need a written hazard communication plan? If your employees use or may be exposed to hazardous chemicals, you need to prepare one. Here’s how to do it:

Make a list of the hazardous chemicals that your employees could be exposed to. If a chemical is hazardous and your employees could be exposed to it, put it on the list. Update the list when you receive new chemicals.

Make sure that all the hazardous chemical containers at your workplace are labeled. Every container of hazardous chemicals at your workplace must have a label that identifies the chemical and includes information about its hazards. You need to describe in your plan how you will ensure that all the containers are properly labeled.

Determine where you will keep safety data sheets. Your workplace must have a safety data sheet for each chemical on your list of hazardous chemicals. Keep safety data sheets where they are readily available for all employees and make sure they know how to find them in an emergency. Indicate in your plan whom to contact if a safety data sheet is missing or incomplete.

Describe how you will train your employees about chemical hazards. In your plan, describe the training employees will receive so that they know how to protect themselves from chemical hazards and understand the information on product labels and safety data sheets.

Describe how you will inform employees who do nonroutine tasks about the hazardous chemicals they may be exposed to. In your plan, identify the nonroutine tasks (such as annual maintenance work) that could expose employees to hazardous chemicals and describe how the employees can minimize their exposure to the hazards.

Describe how you will protect other employees at multi-employer sites. Your plan must also include information to protect employees at multi-employer sites if other workers could be exposed to hazardous chemicals that your employees use. The information in your plan must ensure that the other employees can find your safety data sheets, protect themselves from the chemicals’ hazards, and understand the labels on your hazardous chemical containers.

Prepare your own written hazard communication plan. You can find sample written hazard communication plans in English and Spanish on Oregon OSHA’s website on the “Forms” A-Z topic page (scroll down to “Hazard communication”) that you can adapt to the needs of your workplace.

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But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.

For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.