September 23, 2013



Hazard communication at K-State

By Habib Khan

In 2012 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, changed a long standing regulation concerning chemicals in the work place. In 1988, the university was directed by the governor to develop a campuswide hazard communication program in accordance with OSHA regulations found in 29 CFR 1910.1200.

The hazard communication program provides Kansas State University employees with the necessary information to protect their health and well-being from chemical hazards (PPM 3720.090). The hazard communication program is also known as HazComm and Worker Right-to-Know. The four parts of HazComm include chemical inventory, material safety data sheets, container labeling, and employee training. The changes in the regulation serve to align the Hazard Communication Standard with the international Globally Harmonized System of Chemical Classification and Labeling , or GHS. Primarily the 2012 changes in the regulation involve changes in material safety data sheets and labels.

The K-State hazard communication program is a train-the-trainer program. In other words, we train college employees in the K-State hazard communication program and they in turn go out to train their college’s employees. Each college has one or several safety coordinators to ensure the program is in place in each college. As the program was developed, each dean is responsible to identify the safety coordinators. For some colleges, it is one person, for other colleges there is one person in each department.

In 2003, in response to needs for safety oversight and inspections in departments, the concept of College Environmental Health and Safety Committees was developed and is in Policies and Procedures Manual 3740. In that policy, each college dean is expected to identify a chair and committee of faculty, staff and students to develop and communicate a clear vision for the college's safety program, establish broad safety goals for departments to attain and evaluate the college's progress toward meeting those goals.

This past year the Campus Environmental Health and Safety Committee approved a new hazard communication program that includes changes made in 2012 by OSHA. To improve compliance with the new regulation, the department of environmental health and safety is offering training in the new regulation. Training for the globally harmonized system of chemical classification and labeling, or GHS, must be provided to all employees who work with chemicals. This training must be completed by Dec. 1.

Training will be provided weekly beginning Sept. 25 in 011 Edwards Hall. Register for training through HRIS Self Enrollment or email training@k-state.edu and include your name, department, employee ID number, course title and date desired. In addition, environmental health and safety will train individual departments upon request. Contact environmental health and safety at 532-5856 or safety@k-state.edu.