The Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know Act is a state statute that consists of two major parts: Public Safety and Emergency Response Right to Know, and Community Right to Know.
Public Safety and Emergency Response Right to Know requires employers who manufacture, process, use, store or produce at least 55 gallons or 500 pounds, whichever is greater, of hazardous chemicals to compile and annually update a list of the hazardous chemicals including the identity of each such chemical and their respective quantities. A copy of this list must be provided to the local fire chief.
Community Right to Know permits any person in North Carolina to request a list of chemicals used or stored at a given facility. The request must be in writing and applies to employers who must compile a hazardous chemicals list and for those chemicals included on the list. In addition, an employer claiming a trade secret may withhold the identity of the chemical.
What are the hazards associated with hazardous chemicals right to know?
Failure of an employer to provide this information to the local fire chief can result in serious harm or death to emergency responders as the result of chemical toxic effects, fire or explosion.
What can I do to protect myself?
Emergency responders should always inquire about the identities of chemicals stored at a business when responding to emergencies.
What resources are available to assist employers?
Training and Outreach Services
A brochure on the Hazardous Chemicals Right-to-Know Act is available for employers to download and distribute to their employees for use in training. In addition, the hazard communication presentation and respiratory protection presentation may also be useful for employee training.
In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.
Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).
Safety and Health Programs
An example hazard communication program, PPE hazard assessment and respiratory protection program can assist the employer with their program and identifying the appropriate personal protective equipment required in the workplace.
A-Z Safety and Health Topics
The A-Z safety and health topic pages on respiratory protection, eyewash stations and emergency showers, hazard communication, hazardous waste operations and emergency response and PPE can provide more resource information.
The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.
Which standards apply?
OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know Act in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic.
North Carolina General Statute
N.C. General Statutes 95-173 through 95-218 - identification of toxic or hazardous substances.
In addition, OSH has adopted the following standards that are relevant to hazardous chemicals right-to-know:
29 CFR 1910.120 - hazardous waste operations and emergency response
29 CFR 1910.1200 - hazard communication
Other Applicable Standards
The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.
Where can I learn more?
Operational Procedure Notice: OPN 107 - Enforcement Guidelines for the Hazardous Chemicals Right-to-Know Act establishes the enforcement policy and provides an explanation of this statute to ensure uniform enforcement.
Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, includes requirements for general industry standards including Subpart Z, toxic and hazardous chemicals.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to email@example.com or by calling 919-707-7876.