Employee's Guide to MSU Hazard Communication Standard

It is the policy of Michigan State University to take every reasonable precaution to provide a working and learning environment that is free from recognized hazards for its employees.

To this end, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has developed and implemented the Michigan State University Hazard Communication Standard in accordance with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This law, commonly called the Michigan Right-To-Know Law (MRTKL), was enacted in 1986, and became effective for MSU in 1987. It established a mechanism by which all employees are entitled to basic safety information regarding hazardous chemicals in their work environment. There are four main requirements of the Michigan Right-To-Know Law. They are:

1) To develop a written plan to meet the requirements of the Right-to-Know law

The MSU RTK document provides employees with current safety and health related information, as well as details on the law and specific employee/supervisor responsibilities. Copies of this training manual are available within your department or through the EHS web page.

2) To provide, to all employees who work with hazardous chemicals, safety education and training

EHS can provide site specific general safety training. EHS also can provide a video on request that gives an overview of the Right-to-Know program.

In addition to the general training options, supervisors are required to provide specific training and information regarding the chemicals in their work place to all employees under their guidance. This "hands on" training should include:

1) Information on the location and availability of the Right-To-Know Document as well as a list of hazardous chemicals used in the work place;

2) Information on the procedure to obtain an SDS;

3) Methods that are used to detect the presence and/or release of a hazardous chemical in the work place;

4) The physical hazards of all hazardous chemicals that a worker might be exposed to in the workplace; and,

5) The standard operating procedures for the safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals that an employee may come in contact with.

3) To provide availability and use of Material Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is a basic safety guide provided by the chemical manufacturer or distributor of the chemical that lists the chemicals physical properties, hazard warnings, emergency spill information and health and safety information. Many safety data sheets can be found on the manufacturer's website.

Contact your supervisor, check the manufacturer's website or call EHS to obtain a SDS. Call EHS at 355-0153 or fax a request at 353-4871 on working days between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. For emergencies during holidays, weekends and between the hours of 5:00 pm and 8:00 am, SDS's can be obtained by contacting MSU Police at 355-2221. Staff at MSU Police will contact staff from EHS via pager. An SDS will be forwarded to you by FAX, email or personal delivery.

4) To label all containers of hazardous chemicals

Michigan State University , as a non-manufacturer, is not required to create labels for hazardous chemical containers, but must maintain labels on all incoming containers. If labels are removed or damaged, they must be replaced by the user. As a general rule, all chemical containers found on the MSU campus should be properly labeled. Additional labeling requirements are explained in the Right-To-Know Document.


All individuals performing work with hazardous chemicals must accept a shared responsibility for operating in a safe manner once they have been informed about the extent of risk and safe procedures for their activities. The primary responsibility for providing chemical safety education and training, pertaining to the Michigan Right-To-Know Law, rests with individual supervisors. Environmental Health & Safety is available to assist departments, supervisors, employees and students with their requirements under the Michigan Right-To-Know Law. Refer to the MSU Right-To-Know Manual as a primary source of guidance and safety information. If a manual is not readily available within your department, contact EHS.