Employee Rights

Texas Hazard Communications Standard

Background
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) recognizes the importance of your rights as an employee who works with hazardous chemicals. It is important that you are familiar with these rights so that we can be assured of a workplace free from chemical hazards for all.

Employee Exposure Determination

The UTHealth must measure the employee's exposure periodically to any substance regulated by a standard which requires monitoring if there is reason to believe that exposure levels for that substance routinely exceed the action level (or in the absence of an action level, the permissible exposure limit (PEL). The employer must notify the employee of the results within 15 working days after receipt of the monitoring results.

Chemical Hygiene Plan

Where hazardous chemicals are used a laboratory the UTHealth must develop and carry out the provisions of a written Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). The CHP includes the necessary work practices, procedures and policies to ensure that employees are protected from all potentially hazardous chemicals in use in their work area. This plan is available to employees and all employee representatives by contacting the Chemical Safety Office at 5832. It can also be found in the "chemical safety" binders located in the laboratory.

Employee Training and Information

The employer must provide employees with information and training to ensure that they are aware of the hazards of the chemicals present in their work area. This information must be provided at the time of an employee's initial assignment to a work area where hazardous chemicals are present and prior to assignments involving new exposure situations.
(see Training)

Employees must be informed of:

  • the contents of this standard and its appendices must be made available to them
  • the location and availability of the employer's Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • the permissible exposure limits for OSHA
  • signs and symptoms associated with exposures to hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory
  • the location and availability of known reference material on the hazards, safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals found in the laboratory including, but not limited to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) received from chemical suppliers.

Employee training must include:

  • methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical
  • the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area
  • the measures they can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures and personal protective equipment to be used.

The employee must be trained on the applicable details of the employer's written Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Medical Consultation and Examinations
All employees who work with hazardous chemicals must be given the opportunity to receive medical attention, including any follow-up examinations which the examining licensed physician determines to be necessary under certain circumstances. Medical examinations and consultants are provided without cost to the employee, without loss of pay and at a reasonable time and place.

The UTHealth must provide certain information to the physician, including the identity of the hazardous chemicals, a description of the conditions under which the exposure occurred, and a description of the signs and symptoms of exposure that the employee is experiencing.

(see Injury/Illness)

Hazard Identification Labels

Labels on incoming containers of hazardous chemicals must not be removed or defaced. MSDSs on incoming hazardous chemicals must be retained and made available to lab employees.

Respirator Use

Where the use of respirators is necessary to maintain exposure below permissible exposure limits, UTHealth must provide, at no cost to the employee, the proper respirator equipment.