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Volume 1: Complying with Environmental, Health And Safety Requirements for Activities Involving Hazardous Chemicals

Lorraine O'Donovan, EHSQ Alliance Affiliate

This is the first book in a three-part series explaining the regulations triggered when your organization acquires and uses chemicals. Learn about dozens of environmental, health and safety (eh&s) provisions intended to ensure that those chemicals are managed safely.



When your organization acquires and uses chemicals, it triggers dozens of environmental, health and safety (EH&S) provisions intended to ensure that those chemicals are managed safely. Since there is no unified chemical-handling law, the first and only place these compliance requirements come together is at regulated organizations – and in your hands, if you have EH&S compliance responsibilities.

Exactly which provisions apply to your activities depend on which chemicals, how much, and how you use them. This eBook is the first of three, which together identify the range of EH&S requirements covering chemical acquisition, chemical use, and post-use management of chemical wastes. They provide an organized approach to evaluating which EH&S requirements apply to your operations, and briefly summarize the types of compliance requirements your organization is likely to face. They provide convenient Self-Assessment Checklists with each section, and outline a calendar for scheduling compliance activities.


A variety of federal, state and even regional or local laws apply EH&S requirements to chemicals. Each requirement is assigned to at least one agency to administer and enforce – most federal laws allow for delegation of some or all responsibilities to state agencies, and some state laws allow for delegation to local agencies. You may need to refer to agencies at all three levels (federal, state and regional/local) to identify your regulators and their requirements – although many organizations only deal with the agency responsible for permitting and inspecting day-to-day activities.

Pre-screening Hazardous Materials Before Marketing

Federal and state laws require chemical manufacturers and importers to submit information to agencies that pre-screen products to determine whether they can be sold in the U.S., and to establish clear and useful labeling. Unless your organization is a chemical manufacturer or importer, you are not regulated by such laws – instead, they serve you as “consumer protection” measures, by providing basic levels of chemical safety and information in products available for purchase and use.

Because these eBooks focus on widely-applicable provisions, these sets of requirements are outside their scope, except to reference the source for requirements that do apply more broadly and you can see these requirements in the STP tables below. 






Each EH&S law is designed to provide protections against hazards, and many cover physical and biological hazards posed by some aspect of chemical handling. Because these laws are fragmented, you must consider which laws may apply to each stage of each activity that involves each chemical involved in your activities.

These include:

Chemical acquisition
- Worker protection requirements – obtaining Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) or Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
- Hazardous materials transportation requirements – getting materials to the workplace; container labeling and packaging requirements

Chemical receiving/off-loading and onsite transport to inventory/storage
- Hazardous materials transportation requirements for offloading
- Worker safety requirements for loading docks, offloading and onsite movement of materials, including personal protective equipment (PPE)

Chemical storage (in central inventory, or in smaller inventory locations at individual worksites at a facility)
- Building code standards for construction, signs, and quantity limits
- Fire code standards for construction, signs, and quantity limits
- Worker protection requirements for signs, access and egress

Chemical movement from storage to use location
- Worker safety requirements for onsite handling of materials

Chemical use
- Worker safety requirements triggered by potential chemical exposures, which may include general information and training requirements (e.g., Hazard Communication Standard, Laboratory Standard), general technical standards (e.g., ventilation, PPE), specific requirements for types of uses (e.g., dipping and coating, spray finishing), and/or specific requirements for specific chemicals (e.g., benzene)
- Building and fire code standards, for volumes and types of hazardous materials, and typesof use
- Environmental controls, for air and water
- Waste capture requirements to facilitate waste management

Management of chemicals in products
- Labeling and packaging requirements
- Transportation requirements

Management of wastes and emissions
- Non-hazardous, hazardous and medical waste management requirements, onsite and offsite (as applicable)
- Air emission and wastewater discharge requirements to protect ambient air and water quality




The professional experience of Jon F. Elliott, BSE, MPP, JD, includes:

  • Practicing attorney in California.
  • Compliance consultant and legal advisor (since 1985), specializing in projects that address multiple legal frameworks simultaneously.

Jon Elliott has made a major contribution to the Specialty Technical Publishers (STP) product range for over 30 years. Examples include:

Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law–1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley–1980) and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University–1977).

Lorraine O’Donovan is a Marketing Specialist for Specialty Technical Publishers.

[Editors' Note: Republished with permission. Copyright © 2018 Specialty Technical Publishers. All Rights Reserved. This publication does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. STP Specialty Technical Publishers and its authors make no warranties, whether express or implied, regarding the accuracy of any information or materials contained herein or the results of any course of action described herein, and STP and its authors expressly and specifically disclaim the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.]



This material provided by the Intelex Community and EHSQ Alliance is for informational purposes only. The material may include notification of regulatory activity, regulatory explanation and interpretation, policies and procedures, and best practices and guidelines that are intended to educate and inform you with regard to EHSQ topics of general interest. Opinions are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Intelex. The material is intended solely as guidance and you are responsible for any determination of whether the material meets your needs. Furthermore, you are responsible for complying with all relevant and applicable regulations. We are not responsible for any damage or loss, direct or indirect, arising out of or resulting from your selection or use of the materials.   


December 19, 2018 @ 09:57 AM EST Manufacturing Environment

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