The Hazard Communication Standard affects everyone who manufactures, distributes, provides, uses or stores hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

By law, Chemical manufacturers or Distributors must determine the physical and health hazards of each product that they make or distribute. Then they must let users know about those hazards by using container labels and MSDS’s.

Employers must develop a Written Hazard Communication Program pdf document. They must also:

  1. Inform employees about the Hazard Communication Standard.
  2. Explain how it’s being put into effect in their workplace.
  3. Provide information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace including:
    1. Recognizing, understanding and using labels and MSDS’s.
    2. Use safe procedures when working with hazardous substances.

Employees must take positive actions to protect themselves as well. They must read labels, MSDS’s and follow their instructions and warnings.

OSHA has developed these safety regulations and Marquette University has developed a compliance program to protect you. The only person who can keep you safe on the job however, is YOU!

Make these rules part of your job:

  1. Identify hazards before you start a job. If you aren’t familiar with a chemical, read the MSDS.
  2. Respect all warnings and precautions, don’t take chances.
  3. When in doubt, ask your supervisor.
  4. Know in advance what could go wrong and what to do about it.
  5. Know how and where to get help.
  6. Learn basic first aid measures.

Labeling and Other Forms of Warning

Every container of hazardous chemicals is labeled by the manufacturer. The actual format may differ, but the labels must contain similar types of information. That makes it easy to find out at a glance about the chemical’s possible hazards, and the basic steps you can take to protect yourself against those risks.

The label may use words or symbols to tell you:

  1. The common name of the chemical.
  2. The name, address, and emergency phone number of the company that made or imported the chemical.
  3. A signal word.
    In order of seriousness, signal words are: Danger, Warning, and Caution.
  4. The principal hazards:
    1. Physical hazards such as explosiveness, reactivity, etc., (Will it explode, catch fire, reactive?).
    2. Health hazards such as toxicity, etc., (Is it toxic? Could it cause cancer? Is it an irritant?).
  5. Recommended precautionary measures.
    Basic protective clothing, equipment, and procedures that are recommended when working with this chemical.
  6. The first-aid instructions.
  7. The proper handling and storage instructions.

If using an unlabeled container, notify your supervisor and ask for instructions. The label contains valuable information but if you don’t find everything you need, refer to the MSDS.

To determine if a chemical is hazardous, check the container’s label. There are different types of labels, but all will tell you if a chemical is hazardous. Many Marquette University chemical substances may contain a hazard coding label. Read the labels on all containers and follow all instructions. If you have questions, ask your supervisor or refer to the MSDS.

Marquette University maintains labels, as provided by manufacturers or distributors, on containers of hazardous chemicals and will not remove or deface existing labels on such containers. When transferring a chemical from one container to another, the new container must be labeled properly. Empty containers which may be reused for other purposes must have their original labels removed or obliterated and relabeled as shown below:

  1. Identity of the chemical,
  2. Appropriate hazard warnings, and
  3. Supplier name and address.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

An MSDS is a written or printed data sheet concerning a chemical which is prepared and distributed by chemical manufacturers and/or distributors.

Updates of MSDS’s on campus are done as new or updated manufacturer MSDS’s are received. New materials introduced into work areas will be controlled by the appropriate departments. MSDS files are maintained throughout our facilities for all hazardous chemicals used in work areas.

MSDS's are in English and available to all employees and contain the following:

The MSDS will provide you with everything you need to work safely with chemicals. MSDS’s may differ in format or length but you will find a summary of everything that’s known about the chemical, its hazards, and precautions to take to avoid injury and illness when handling that particular hazardous substance.

Read the MSDS before using a chemical substance.

Hazard Communication Training Requirements

Locations of the Lists of Hazardous Chemicals on Campus

The official list of hazardous chemicals known to be present in the Marquette University workplace can be found in Public Safety. Employees may contact their supervisors or Department of Public Safety regarding chemicals used in their jobs.


MU purchase orders will contain a brief description of the contractor’s responsibilities. Contractors bringing hazardous chemicals on site are responsible for providing MSDS’s with appropriate hazard information. MU employees working in the vicinity of the contractor’s work site, may review the contractor’s MSDS’s. In turn, MSDS’s of MU chemicals used at the work site may be reviewed by the contractor’s employees.


Not all University areas are subject to this standard and hazardous materials are generally identified. If you have questions regarding your department, please contact Risk Management.

All users of chemicals and their supervisors in all University departments should be aware of the hazardous substances holding areas in Chemistry and Biology. Facilities Services and Purchasing have programs in place for chemical and hazardous waste disposal from these sites. Marquette is a small quantity generator under the federal act and must comply with regulations.

The regulations require that the name of each chemical to be stored and/or to be disposed must be clearly marked on each container. As a general rule, chemicals should not be combined, however, in situations where that is acceptable; all substances included must be clearly marked and dated on the container. The date of the accumulation of the stored material must also be clearly marked.

In the case where the exact chemical information is not known, we have contracted with certified laboratories to test the substances. If the composition is unknown, this must also be clearly marked and dated as to placement in any storage or disposal container. Individuals from Chemistry and Biology will assist in log maintenance and shall be trained in the proper protocols for handling these substances.


Marquette’s Hazard Communication Program pdf document is designed to ensure safe handling of chemicals on the job and may also be helpful to you at home. Contact your supervisor or the Environmental Health and Safety Office if you have any questions about this program or safe handling of chemicals on the job.

Marquette University follows a “least risk” policy for all hazardous materials procured, received, handled, stored and disposed of. This means that only the quantity of material absolutely necessary should be on hand.


Mission Statement

The Risk Unit is responsible for evaluating loss exposures, assessing liability, handling claims, promoting internal controls and developing effective safety and health programs. The corporate and student insurance plans are managed by this unit.