University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Chemical Hazard Communication Program

(Approved by the Executive Director of Health Sciences Administration by authority of Executive Order No. 1)

1.  General Information

The University of Washington is committed to creating, maintaining, and promoting a safe and healthful environment for all associated individuals including students, faculty, staff employees, hospital patients, and visitors. A critical component o f the University's environmental health and safety commitment is ensuring personnel are aware of, and know how to properly respond to, all hazards of their workplaces including chemical hazards, using practices such as those described in this Chemical Hazard Communication (HazCom) Program.

2.  Scope

In order to comply with state regulations and protect employees, this policy statement concerning the Chemical HazCom Program has been established for the University of Washington. All campuses, colleges, schools, and administrative offices, including UW Medicine, are incorporated within this program. This policy statement applies to all University employees at all University locations including the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses, all other University-owned property, University-leased space, and temporary field locations and field trips that are under the control of University operations and staff. Protection afforded by the program is meant to be consistent, whether in a chemical laboratory where the laboratory's chemical hygiene plan documents protective measures, or in non-chemical laboratory units where a job hazard analyses documents protective measures.

3.  UW Compliance Responsibility

It is University policy that each dean, director, department chair, and supervisor is responsible for the health and safety performance in his or her respective unit. This responsibility can neither be transferred nor delegated.

  A. Environmental Health and Safety

The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) is responsible for developing University-wide chemical hazard communication policies, procedures, and supporting information. Program requirements are described in the HazCom Program Guidance Manual on the EH&S Web site. EH&S maintains the necessary centralized documentation, including compiled chemical inventories linked to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). EH&S also provides technical assistance to departments in establishing procedures and conducting activities to comply with the Chemical HazCom Program.

  B. Departmental and Operational Unit Supervisors

Departments and/or operational units must either follow the compliance procedures in this policy statement and the supporting Chemical HazCom Program Guidance Manual on the EH&S website, or document in writing their own methods for meeting the requirements of the Chemical HazCom Program and have them approved by EH&S. Responsible individuals through first-level supervisors in departmental and operational units are responsible for implementing the required activities within their units, as described in the compliance guide. Critical components of the program include:

  • Identifying and listing hazardous chemicals in use by employees;

  • Ensuring chemical containers are labeled;

  • Ensuring employees have access to MSDSs;

  • Informing and training employees; and

  • Maintaining documentation.
  C. Contracting with Non-UW Employers for Onsite Work (Capital Projects Office, Facilities Services, UW Information Technology, and Others)

The Capital Projects Office, Facilities Services, and other UW units purchasing work or services from non-UW employers must advise the employers (such as contractors performing work on UW work sites) of any ongoing UW operations which cannot be stopped or remediated and which may expose the contracted employer's employees to hazards.

Non-UW employers (contractors) shall be informed that they must advise the UW contracting official of any chemical or physical hazards from the work they are to perform that could affect UW staff, students, and visitors. Contact EH&S (206-543-7388) or email if there are any questions about the potential risks that could be associated with these hazards. Additional precautions need to be taken if the contractor is going to be doing "hot" work such as welding or torch cutting where there are adjacent, UW-occupied properties, which will require additional time for notification and coordination to ensure adequate protective measures are in place.

4.  Compliance Requirements

Procedures for complying with the University's Chemical HazCom Program are described on the EH&S website. This policy statement and the related procedures comply with requirements in WAC 296-800-170 regarding HazCom in general work areas; Chapter 296-828 WAC regarding HazCom requirements in chemical laboratory areas; and Chapter 296-839 WAC concerning HazCom requirements for chemicals provided to off-site, non-UW entities.

5.  Additional Information

Questions regarding the Chemical HazCom Program should be directed to EH&S at 206-543-7388 or by sending email to

Various manuals, brochures, and other documents in support of the Chemical HazCom Program are available on the EH&S website.

June 1986; July 13, 2010.