Tom Hicks, Hazardous Materials Specialist
phone: 208-885-2883
fax: 208-885-5969
Environmental Health & Safety
875 Perimeter Dr MS 2030
Moscow, ID 83844-2030
Mark Borth, Hazardous Materials Technician II
phone: 208-885-6279
fax: 208-885-5969
Environmental Health & Safety
875 Perimeter Dr MS 2030
Moscow, ID 83844-2030

PSS Units


Environmental Health and Safety
875 Perimeter Dr MS 2030
Moscow, ID 83844-2030
Phone: (208) 885-6524
Fax: (208) 885-5969


Public Safety and Security
875 Perimeter Dr MS 2285
Moscow, ID 83844-2285
Phone: (208) 885-2254
Fax: (208) 885-7001

Emergency Mgmt

Emergency Management
875 Perimeter Dr MS 2285 
Moscow, ID 83844-2285 
Phone: (208) 885-7179
Fax: (208) 885-7001

Active in Emergencies
(208) 885-1010

Risk Management

Risk Management & Insurance
875 Perimeter Dr MS 2285
Moscow, ID 83844-2285
Phone: (208) 885-7177
Fax: (208) 885-7001

Active in Emergencies
(208) 885-1010

Security Services

Security Services
875 Perimeter Dr MS 2285
Moscow, ID 83844-2285 
Phone: (208) 885-7054
Fax: (208) 885-7001

HazCom FAQs

  • What should I do with old Material Safety Data Sheets?

    Retain MSDSs at least until the applicable chemical product is no longer present in the workplace or until you receive a revised Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the same product.  We recommend you keep the old MSDSs in a three-ring binder, and start a new binder for SDSs.

  • Can we store Safety Data Sheets on a computer?

    Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) must be readily accessible during each work shift when employees are in their work areas.  Electronic access and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the SDSs are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options.  What would happen if power was lost?  How conveniently located is the computer?  What if the computer crashes?  In many cases, paper copies are the best option.

  • Does the Hazard Communication Standard apply to laboratories?

    Only as follows:

    1. Employers shall ensure that labels on incoming containers of hazardous chemicals are not removed or defaced;
    2. Employers shall maintain any Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) that are received with incoming shipments of hazardous chemicals, and ensure that they are readily accessible to laboratory employees.
    3. Employers shall provide information and training to laboratory employees that includes:
      a.  An understanding of the labels that are on shipped containers of hazardous chemicals,
      b.  An explanation of secondary container labeling procedures, such as prepared dilutions;
      c.  The location of SDSs, the order of information on SDSs, and how to understand the information;
      d.  Methods to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical;
      e.  The hazards of the chemicals in the work area;
      f.   Measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, such as the use of fume hoods, the proper personal protective equipment (e.g. lab coats and safety glasses or goggles), appropriate work practices, and emergency procedures.
  • I work in shipping and receiving, and my job never requires me to open a chemical container. Does the Hazard Communication Standard apply to this situation?

    Yes, to essentially the same extent as it applies to laboratories (see above).  In this situation, employees need information and training to protect themselves in the event of a spill or leak of a hazardous chemical from a sealed container.

  • What about pesticides?

    The Hazard Communication Standard does NOT apply to labeling of pesticides that have their own labeling regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.  However, other provisions do apply, such as Safety Data Sheets.

  • Are there situations in which the Hazard Communication Standard does not apply at all?

    Yes, including, but not limited to:

    1. Hazardous waste as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA);
    2. Tobacco or tobacco products;
    3. Wood or wood products where the only hazard is due to flammability or combustibility;
    4. Food or alcoholic beverages;
    5. Cosmetics intended for personal use by employees while in the workplace;
    6. Ionizing and nonionizing radiation;
    7. Biological hazards;
    8. Consumer products where the employer can show that it is used in the workplace for the purpose intended by the chemical manufacturer of the product, and the use results in a duration and frequency of exposure which is not greater than what is reasonably experienced by consumers.

  • How will labels change under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

    Under the current Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), the label preparer must provide the identity of the chemical, and the appropriate hazard warnings.  This may be done in a variety of ways, and the method to convey the information is left to the preparer.  Under the revised HCS, once the hazard classification is completed, the standard specifies what information is to be provided for each hazard class and category.  Labels will require the following elements:

    • Pictogram: a symbol plus other graphic elements, such as a border, background pattern, or color that is intended to convey specific information about the hazards of a chemical. Each pictogram consists of a different symbol on a white background within a red square frame set on a point (i.e. a red diamond). There are nine pictograms under the GHS. However, only eight pictograms are required under the HCS.
    • Signal words: a single word used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label. The signal words used are "danger" and "warning." "Danger" is used for the more severe hazards, while "warning" is used for less severe hazards.
    • Hazard Statement: a statement assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
    • Precautionary Statement: a phrase that describes recommended measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical, or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical.

  • What pictograms are required in the revised Hazard Communication Standard? What hazard does each identify?

    There are nine pictograms under the GHS to convey the health, physical and environmental hazards.  The final Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires eight of these pictograms, the exception being the environmental pictogram, as environmental hazards are not within OSHA's jurisdiction.  The hazard pictograms and their corresponding hazards can be seen in the GHS pictograms link to the right.

  • How is the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) changing under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

    The information required on the safety data sheet (SDS) will remain essentially the same as that in the current standard (HazCom 1994). HazCom 1994 indicates what information has to be included on an SDS, but does not specify a format for presentation or order of information. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) requires that the information on the SDS be presented using specific headings in a specified sequence.  The SDS format is the same as the ANSI standard format which is widely used in the U.S. and is already familiar to many employees.

    The format of the 16-section SDS should include the following sections:

    • Section 1. Identification
    • Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
    • Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
    • Section 4. First-Aid measures
    • Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
    • Section 6. Accidental release measures
    • Section 7. Handling and storage
    • Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
    • Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
    • Section 10. Stability and reactivity
    • Section 11. Toxicological information
    • Section 12. Ecological information
    • Section 13. Disposal considerations
    • Section 14. Transport information
    • Section 15. Regulatory information
    • Section 16. Other information, including date of preparation or last revision

    The SDS must also contain Sections 12-15, to be consistent with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  Although the headings for Sections 12-15 are mandatory, OSHA will not enforce the content of these four sections because these sections are within other agencies' jurisdictions.