Hazard Communication Plan

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Introduction and Policy

The Hazard Communication Program for Sonoma County Junior College District was developed to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To train and educate employees of the hazards present in work environments;
  2. To inventory potentially hazardous materials in District facilities; and
  3. To acquire, maintain, and review Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all hazardous materials used in the work environment.
  4. Comply with local, state and federal regulations (e.g., Title 8, CCR Section 5194).


Employee Health & Safety (EH&S) oversees the Hazard Communication program across the District. It provides Hazard Communication training and establishes guidelines to meet objectives of the Program.

All supervisors are responsible for hazard communication in their area. Each supervisor will work with EH&S to determine the need for general and specific Hazard Communication training for employees. Supervisors must convey hazardous materials handling procedures to all employees. Facilities Operations supports District departments with chemical storage concerns at District sites, and manages the District inventory of Chemical Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).

Employees working with chemicals need to familiarize themselves with potential hazards and safe handling procedures prior to use of chemicals. Employees are to seek supervisory advice prior to working with new materials or prior to using materials for non-routine tasks.

Chemical Inventory

Each department will maintain its chemical inventory. District wide chemical inventory is kept on file by Facilities Operations. The chemical inventory is updated by both Facilities and the affected department each time upon receipt or disposal of chemicals. Common household chemicals may contain hazardous materials and must be included in the inventory.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

The purpose of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is to inform consumers of the hazards, safe handling guidelines, and emergency procedures associated with a chemical. All departments will maintain a SDS for every substance on the chemical inventory. The SDS will consist of a fully completed OSHA Form 174 or equivalent. A SDS must be obtained prior to or at the time of receipt of any new chemical. If a chemical is received without a SDS, the department will contact Facilities Operations at (707) 527-4231 to obtain one. SDS documents must be accessible at all times. Employees working in remote locations will maintain a SDS file in a vehicle or on each job site. If electronic access to SDS documents is desired, Facilities Operations can provide employees written instructions on how to look up SDS documents.

Container Labeling

All chemical containers must be properly labeled. Deteriorating or missing labels must be reported to Facilities Operations. Employees may also submit a Safety Report to EH&S if a health and safety hazard to employees is suspected associated with a chemical hazard. Labels on primary (manufacturer original) containers should be preserved for as long as they contain the indicated material. These labels generally list the chemical identity, appropriate hazard warnings, and the name and address of the manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party. Secondary containers (containers into which chemicals are transferred) must be labeled with the name of the material as it appears on the SDS, and an appropriate hazard warning.


Each employee who is exposed to hazardous chemicals will receive initial training on the Hazard Communication Standard and the safe handling of hazardous materials. EH&S will provide Hazard Communication training as part of Injury and Illness Prevention Plan. This training is also included in New Employee Safety Orientation. Specific training for the department is conducted by its supervisor or his/her designee. Additional training is to be provided for employees if a new hazard is introduced to their work areas.

The training will cover the following:

  • A summary of Hazard Communication Standard
  • Chemical properties and methods to detect the presence of chemical hazards
  • Health hazards associated with potential exposure to workplace chemicals
  • Procedures to minimize exposure; e.g., personal protective equipment, safe work practices, and emergency procedures
  • Hazardous chemical spill and leak procedures
  • Location of SDS documents and how to understand their content
  • The procedures for conducting non-routine tasks involving hazardous materials.
  • Recordkeeping

Summary of Hazard Communication Standard

The Hazard Communication Standard (Title 8 CCR 5194) establishes uniform requirements to ensure that all chemicals used in California workplaces are evaluated to determine their hazards. This information must be provided to employers and to their affected employees. Chemical manufacturers must convey the exposure hazards to consumers using container labels and safety data sheets (SDS). Employers must inform their employees about the hazards of exposure to the materials employees work with, and ensure that SDS documents and container labels are accessible and up to date.

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