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Hazardous Substance Right-To-Know Act

Annual Retraining Program

Last Presented to CCRI Staff and Faculty
Community College of Rhode Island
June, 2008
Emanuel G. Terezakis, Ph.D., Chemical Safety Coordinator

Part A: Introduction to the Rhode Island Hazardous Substance Right-to-know-act, Chapter 28-31

The Right-To-Know Act, administered by the Rhode Island Department of Labor is designed to protect employees who may be exposed to one or more of 1100 hazardous chemicals on the "State of Rhode Island Hazardous Substance List". All CCRI employees who may be exposed to any chemicals stored and used in the College buildings are covered by this law.

Written Materials:

Posters around the College inform you of your rights under the law. Keep this written program as your training record. Use the yellow pamphlet entitled "The Rhode Island Right-To-Know Law" as a quick reference. Read through the pamphlet for highlights of the Law. Copies of the Law itself, Chapter 28-21, and the State of Rhode Island Hazardous Substance List are available from your trainer and are on reserve in the Libraries of all three campuses.

Part B: What Constitutes Compliance With Rhode Island Law? What Has CCRI Done to Comply?

  • Chemical Inventory: A College-wide inventory has been complied by the Security and Safety Department and is updated yearly.
  • Chemical Labeling: Chemicals are not to be transferred to a new container without labeling it with all safety information from the original container.
  • Employee Training: Training sessions for new employees and yearly retraining sessions such as this one are held as needed.
  • Material Safety Data Sheets: The principal means by which employees learn about chemical hazards: By law, MSDS's are made available to any employee who wants to learn about a particular substance. MSDS files are maintained at each workplace for your perusal. Copies of MSDS's for any chemical or hazardous product used in the College may be obtained by calling Bernie Terelli at 401-825-2176 at the Knight Campus.

Part C: Understanding the MSDS

To understand the information on an MSDS, remember the organization of the ten parts and what they contain. The information in an MSDS is divided as follows:

  • Manufacturer Name, Address, Phone Number, Name(s) of the Substance.
  • Hazardous Ingredients (If more than one is present).
  • Physical Characteristics: Color, Appearance, Boiling Point, Melting Point.
  • Fire and Explosion Hazards: Special procedures that should be taken in case of fire.
  • Reactivity Data: Stability and Conditions to Avoid.
  • Health Hazards: Routes of Exposure, Symptoms of Exposure.
  • Emergency and First Aid Procedures.
  • Toxicity Data: How deadly or harmful is the Substance.
  • Special Precautions: Gloves, Protective Clothing, Goggles, Ventilation.
  • Spill and Leak Procedures: What to do in case of a spill.

Part D: Detailed Examination of the MSDS for a Substance Currently in Use

Your trainer has provided you with a copy of an MSDS of particular interest to your group for detailed examination.

Part E: Identification of Individuals With Special Training Needs

Part F: Question and Answer Period

Use this time to ask your trainer about any safety concerns you have.