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5.3.2 Hazardous Materials: Employees' Right to Know


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers, such as Illinois State University, have a Right to Know program. (Since the University is a public institution, the Illinois Department of Labor [IDOL] is the enforcement authority for worker health and safety. IDOL requirements are essentially the same as OSHA's.) The Right to Know law requires that an employer's program provide a means to identify and evaluate a hazard and to communicate appropriate information to employees. The University has a written program that is available to the entire University community. Click on the link below for specific information on the Right to Know program.

Employees shall be provided, and have access to, information concerning any hazardous material they work with, as well as any protective equipment necessary to prevent overexposure.

The primary source of information concerning hazardous materials is the material safety data sheet (MSDS). MSDSs are documents that identify hazardous constituents of a product, instructions for emergency response, and information pertaining to health hazards, flammability, and reactivity. MSDSs are required to be sent by the manufacturer of a hazardous material upon shipment of the material and upon request of an individual.

Individual departments should have copies of MSDSs available for materials used by their employees. If new materials are purchased, a copy of the MSDS should be forwarded to the OEHS (Mail Code 1320).


All employees shall be trained upon employment at the University. Training shall focus on requirements of the Right to Know law, hazards the employee is expected to encounter, the content and location of MSDSs, proper operating procedures, and necessary protective measures. The respective department shall conduct more specific training.

Asbestos Management

The asbestos management policy at Illinois State University is to leave the material containing asbestos in place as long as the material is not damaged and does not interfere with the maintenance of the building or building equipment. This is the course of action recommended by the USEPA.

If the material containing asbestos must be removed from a building, the OEHS surveys and inspects the area to determine what must be done. Specifications are then written to abate the material. For small projects, the University has a trained and licensed abatement team that can do the work. For large projects, the work is bid out to trained and licensed abatement contractors. The abatement work is conducted in accordance with EPA, AHERA, NESHAPS, and OSHA regulations.

Laboratory Personnel

OSHA, realizing the multitude of hazardous materials used in, and the unique environment of, a laboratory, developed a specific Right to Know standard for lab employees. The laboratory Right to Know program must be documented in a Chemical Hygiene Plan. Each department utilizing laboratory space shall develop a Chemical Hygiene Plan. The OEHS can assist departments with plan development, hazard evaluation, and training.


Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Initiating body: Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Contact: Office of Environmental Health and Safety (309-438-8325)

Revised on: 05/01/2001

2018-01-29T14:19:17.985-06:00 2018