Section 900: Physical Plant

Effective: February 15, 1995
Revised: October 2015
Review Date: October 2017
Responsible Party: : Director of Facilities Services and/or Risk Management Division

Purpose and Objectives:

The purpose of this policy is to communicate to all activities of Montana State University-Northern the requirement to establish a hazard communication program throughout all levels of the University to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported is evaluated, and that information concerning their hazards is transmitted to all employees and students. This transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of a comprehensive hazard communication program which is to include container labeling and other forms of warning, safety data sheets (SDS) and employee and student training.

The objective of the Hazard Communication program is to ensure:

  1. That all hazardous chemicals used by employees and students of MSU-Northern are properly identified and labeled before entering the workplace or classroom.
  2. That all activities display a list of all hazardous materials used in the workplace.
  3. That safety data sheets (SDS) are maintained at the work site and are readily available to employees during each work shift.
  4. That all employees of MSU-Northern who work with hazardous chemicals are properly trained as to hazards associated with the chemical they are exposed to, how to work safely with them, and what personal protective equipment is required during use.


It is the responsibility of supervisors and/or department heads at all levels to implement and enforce a hazard communication program.

The Director of Facilities Services with the cooperation of the Safety and Disaster Committee appointee has oversight responsibility for implementation of MSU-Northern's Hazard Communication Program at all levels throughout the University.

Hazard Determination

The principle information source used in this process is the SDS provided by the manufacturer. Information supplied by the manufacturer is presumed to be accurate and is made available to all employees.

All materials used by employees of MSU-Northern are reviewed by the using supervisor to determine the hazards associated with their use.

Container Labels

To assure the communication of accurate hazard information, it is the responsibility of the on-site supervisor or building coordinator to ensure that labels on all purchased products meet the requirement of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.

Material Safety Data Sheets and Hazardous Chemical Lists

It is the responsibility of MSU-Northern supervisors to maintain an up-to-date file of SDS for all products used by employees in their respective areas and to ensure the availability of SDS at the work area during each work shift.

A list of products/chemicals used by MSU-Northern employees will be compiled and updated annually by the responsible supervisors. This list is intended to include all products containing chemicals regulated under the hazard Communication Standard, but will not be edited to include only regulated products. This approach is taken as an administrative convenience and not necessarily because there is anything hazardous about a particular product. Products/chemicals will be listed by product common name and indicate location of use.

On an annual basis, all activities required to maintain SDS will review their product holdings to verify that a SDS is available. At any time when an activity discontinues use of a product/chemical and the product/chemical has been consumed or removed from the facility, the SDS should be removed from the reference file. Likewise, when a product is added, the responsible supervisor is required to update the product list and SDS file (I.B.2 & 3 above).

Employee Training

The Hazard Communication Standard requires that employees be informed and trained on hazardous products/chemicals used or stored in their work area. This training must be given to each employee upon first accepting employment at MSU-Northern.

In addition, training must be provided any time the employee is given a new assignment involving exposure or potential exposure to a new hazardous product/chemical, or whenever a new hazardous product/chemical is introduced into his or her work area.

Notification of Contractors

Montana State University-Northern is obligated to advise contractors performing work on or in MSU-Northern facilities should the contractor be working in areas where hazardous materials are present. If possible, the director responsible for the designated work area should temporarily relocate the hazardous materials to a safe area if it is likely that a release of the hazardous material is likely to occur due to contractor operations.

Contractors performing work in or on MSU-Northern facilities should be asked, if they don't offer, to provide a SDS for any hazardous material they will use in the accomplishment of the work.