Chemical Safety

What is Chemical Health and Safety?

Using chemical products has become part of our daily lives. Floor cleaners, white-out, bug sprays, road salt: all are chemicals that present hazards if used improperly. For many years, employers could make employees work with and around chemicals they knew nothing about, with sometimes tragic results.

So, in the early 1990s, OSHA enacted regulations that require employers to tell their employees about potential chemical hazards in the workplace. The first set of regulations is called the Hazard Communication Standard, or "HazCom" for short. The requirements of this standard apply to most employees except those who work in laboratories. Learn more about the HazCom requirements.

The second set of regulations is called Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories, or the "Lab Standard" for short. As you might guess, the Lab Standard applies only to people who work in laboratories. Learn more about the Lab Standard requirements.

OSHA also has developed regulations for specific chemical substances, such as asbestos, lead, and formaldehyde. In general, these substance-specific standards include exposure limits and specific work practices. They apply to mixtures (for example, paint that contains lead), not just to the pure chemical substance itself (e.g., lead solder).

How Can I Find Out More?

If you have questions that are not answered on these webpages, contact the Industrial Hygiene Manager or call 828-262-4008. You can also learn more on these pages: