IV. Communicating Workplace Hazards

Supervisors are responsible for communicating with all workers about safety and health issues in a form readily understandable by all workers. All department personnel are encouraged to communicate safety concerns to their supervisor without fear of reprisal. The Safety Committee is another resource for communication regarding health and safety issues for department employees. Each employee has a representative on the committee that will inform him or her of hazard corrections and committee activities. Additionally, Safety Committee minutes and other safety-related items are posted on the web page. Employees will also be informed about safety matters by e-mail, voice mail, or distribution of written memoranda. Occasionally, the Safety Committee may also sponsor seminars or speakers or coordinate other means to communicate with employees regarding health and safety matters..

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees are supplied access to hazard information pertinent to their work assignments. Information concerning the health and safety hazards of tasks performed by department staff is available from a number of sources. These sources include, but are not limited to, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs, see below), equipment operating manuals, the Department Safety Coordinator, EH&S, campus libraries, container labels and work area postings.

Material Safety Data Sheets

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) provide information on the potential hazards of products or chemicals. Hard copies of MSDSs for the chemicals used in the department are available in the Computer Science Division office. If an MSDS is found to be missing, a new one can be obtained by faxing a written request to the manufacturer. A copy of this request should be kept until the MSDS arrives.

MSDSs are also available over the Internet from a variety of sources. They can be obtained by accessing the EH&S web page and clicking on MSDS. For further information, contact EH&S for a fact sheet explaining how to use MSDSs. Videos and training on how to read and understand the information presented on an MSDS are also available from EH&S.

Equipment Operating Manuals

All equipment is to be operated in accordance with the manufacturer s instructions, as specified in the equipment s operating manual. Copies of operating manuals should be kept with each piece of equipment in the department. Persons who are unfamiliar with the operation of a piece of equipment and its potential hazards must at least read the operating manual before using the equipment. Training should also be sought from an experienced operator or supervisor.