This written Hazard Communication Program is established for Valdosta State University in order to comply with the Georgia Public Employees Hazardous Chemical Protection and Right To Know Act of 1988 as amended, and Georgia Department of Labor Chapter 300-3-19 Public Employee Hazardous Chemical Protection and Right To Know Rules. This Plan is maintained by the Office of Environmental & Occupational Safety and is available to all employees, the Right To Know Coordinator for the University System of Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Labor.


All employees of Valdosta State University shall be informed about the hazards of chemicals to which they may be exposed in the workplace. This information will be provided to employees in the form of employee training, container labels and other appropriate forms of warning, and material safety data sheets. All work areas of Valdosta State University are included within this plan. 


The Valdosta State University Right To Know Coordinator is Michael Fontaine, Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator (229) 293-6171. The Right To Know Coordinator responsibilities are to:

  • Act as liaison between Valdosta State University and the University System of Georgia on hazardous chemicals issues.
  • Resolve questions regarding applicability of the Chapter 300-3-19 rules to individual workplaces and work areas of the University.
  • Make arrangements for and/or provide training to all employees of Valdosta State University.
  • Ensure that employee training on and notification of the use of hazardous chemicals in the workplace are documented in each employee's personnel file.
  • Assemble chemical inventory information for Valdosta State University in December and June of each year.
  • Annually review the hazardous chemical labeling practices of work areas which use secondary storage containers.


It is the responsibility of the person approving the purchase of any chemical or product to determine whether it is a hazardous chemical under the law.

Any person procuring a hazardous chemical MUST forward copy of the purchase order to env_occ@valdosta.edu, or otherwise communicate in writing that the procurement did occur. Notification by e-mail is acceptable.


A safety data sheet (SDS) must be provided with the first shipment of any chemical product received by Valdosta State University. Any person procuring a hazardous chemical MUST send a copy of the SDS to env_occ@valdosta.edu, 1504 N. Oak St., (229) 293-6171 and to the department head as soon as it is received. If the SDS is not received with the first shipment of any chemical entering the facility, the person who procured the chemical should contact the shipper and request that the SDS be faxed and mailed.

SDSs are maintained in two locations. A central file of SDSs for all hazardous chemicals on campus is maintained in the Office of Campus Safety and is available to employees upon request. Department heads and/or supervisors are responsible for maintaining SDSs of the hazardous chemicals found in their work areas for employee review during each work shift. The SDSs in these files are revised or replaced as new or updated SDSs are received.

The University System of Georgia Right To Know Coordinator shall review incoming SDSs for new and significant health and safety information, and will see that such new information is passed on to env_occ@valdosta.edu not later than 30 days after receipt.


All containers received for use will be clearly labeled. The person ordering a chemical or a product containing a hazardous chemical is responsible for inspecting the container upon receipt. Label information will contain:

  • The contents.
  • The appropriate hazard warnings.
  • The name and address of the manufacturer.

Labels shall be legible, in English, and prominently displayed on all containers of hazardous chemicals. Labels shall not be defaced. If a label becomes unreadable, loose, defaced or is missing, employees shall contact their supervisor immediately to arrange for placement of a new label on the container.

Secondary Containers: The work shift supervisor in each section should ensure that all secondary containers are labeled with either an extra copy of the original manufacturer's label or with a label containing:

  1. The identity of the contents AND
  2. A properly completed NFPA or HMIS hazard warning label.

If a secondary container is intended for short-term storage only (one week or less), it shall be labeled with the name of the contents and date of filling at a minimum. Vials and test tubes may have hazard labels affixed to the rack or container in which they are held rather than on each vial or test tube, so long as every vial or test tube in the rack or container presents the same hazard.

Unlabeled Containers: If an employee finds a container in the workplace that is unlabeled or carries a defaced label and believes it contains a hazardous chemical, the employee should immediately notify a supervisor. If the supervisor is unable to identify the container contents, the supervisor should call 229-293-6171 for assistance.


New Employees: Prior to starting work, each new employee of Valdosta State University will attend a Right-to-Know training session which will present basic training. That basic training will normally be scheduled during New Employee Orientation. Basic training will include:

  • The requirements of the Georgia Public Employees Hazardous Chemical Protection and Right To Know Act of 1988 as amended, and Georgia Department of Labor Chapter 300-3-19 Public Employee Hazardous Chemical Protection and Right To Know Rules.
  • The identity of the Valdosta State University Right To Know Coordinator
  • The location of the written Hazard Communication/Right To Know Program.
  • The location and availability of a hazardous chemical inventory.
  • How to locate, read and interpret chemical labels and MSDSs.

Employees Handling Hazardous Chemicals: The immediate supervisor of any employee who will routinely be exposed to any hazardous chemical must ensure that before beginning work, each such employee receives additional chemical specific training, which will include:

  • Information on any hazardous chemical in the work area.
  • Physical and health effects of the chemicals, as well as symptoms of overexposure.
  • Methods to prevent or reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace using control procedures, work practices and personal protective equipment.
  • Steps the department has taken to reduce or prevent employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  • Methods for detecting the presence or release of a hazardous chemical into the work area.
  • Emergency procedures to follow in case of a spill, illness and/or injury.

Documentation of Training: A written record of the BASIC TRAINING and/or chemical specific training for each employee must be completed and maintained in each employee’s personnel.

Training for Increased Hazard: Prior to the introduction of any new chemical hazard, significant increase of an existing hazard, or assignment to a non-routine hazardous task, the immediate supervisor of affected employees must ensure that additional chemical specific training is provided and recorded, including the information listed above.


Supervisors are responsible for advising their employees of any operations occurring in their workplaces where hazardous materials are present.

Supervisors are also responsible for ensuring that all hazardous chemicals remaining on Valdosta State University property as a result of the departure of a faculty or staff member, or the vacating or reassignment of an assigned space, shall be managed in accordance with appropriate procedures. The Office of Environmental & Occupational Safety is available to assist supervisors in determining proper handling of hazardous chemicals.


Any contract with Valdosta State University which may involve hazardous chemical exposure should require the contractor to:

  1. Notify the Right To Know Coordinator env_occ@valdosta.edu of any hazardous chemicals which will be used or stored at the work site by the contractor or its sub-contractors. This notification must take place at least 30 days prior to the commencement of work (however, the 30-day requirement may be waived in the event of an emergency). The workplace manager will then:
  • Disseminate this information to employees whose work area will be affected by the contractor’s work.
  • Obtain from the contractor MSDSs for those hazardous chemicals and maintain them readily available to University employees during the contractor's presence at the worksite.
  1. Provide documentation to the workplace manager that its employees and its sub-contractors have been provided with information and training on hazardous chemicals being used by the contractor or its sub-contractors at the worksite.

The Valdosta State University contract administrator, project manager or a designee will inform contractors that a list of hazardous chemicals and precautionary measures for each work area can be obtained from the department supervisor. Access to the University’s written Right To Know Program and MSDSs will be provided to the contractor upon request.


Each department that uses hazardous chemicals is responsible for keeping an up-to-date inventory of the chemicals being used. Copies of these inventories shall be forwarded to the Office of Environmental & Occupational Safety by November 30 and May 31 of each year. The Right To Know Coordinator shall supply to the University System in June and December of each year, a list, by name, of all hazardous chemicals or products present in the member unit's workplaces. This list shall include all chemicals labeled as flammable, explosive, combustible liquid, corrosive, reactive, oxidizer, toxic, water reactive, pyrophoric, or organic peroxide.


  1. "Right To Know Coordinator" means an individual who is assigned the responsibilities associated with that title in the written Hazardous Chemical Protection Communication (Right To Know) Plan, and who is assigned the responsibilities of hazardous chemical protection communication coordinator in the Chapter 300-3-19 Rules.
  2. "University System Right To Know Coordinator" means the individual who is assigned the responsibilities associated with that title.
  3. "Work area" means a room inside a building or structure, an outside area, or other defined space in a workplace where hazardous chemicals are produced, stored, or used and where employees are present in the course of their employment.
  4. "Workplace" means an establishment or business of an employer at one geographic location at which work is performed by a state employee and which contains one or more work areas. In the case of an independent contractor or subcontractor, the workplace shall be defined as all work areas wholly owned or controlled by such independent contractor or subcontractor.