CHAPTER 5: How to Determine if a Chemical is Hazardous

5.0 Introduction & Definition of "Hazardous Chemical"
To adversely affect a person, a chemical must come into contact with that person (i.e., the person must be exposed to the chemical).  The four routes of exposures (inhalation, ingestion, injection, and eye/skin contact) limit the chemical’s ability to contact us.  If we properly protect ourselves, we can reduce or even eliminate the chance of exposure.

5.0.a Introduction. There are over 500,000 substances that fit the OSHA definition of “hazardous chemical.”  The remaining sections of this chapter will help you to determine if a chemical should be considered hazardous – use all sections of Chapter 5 regularly, and do not rely solely on one source of information to learn about a chemical’s hazard characteristics.

5.02.b Definition of "Hazardous Chemical"

  1. The OSHA Laboratory Standard defines a hazardous chemical as a chemical “for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees” (29 CFR 1910.1450(b))
  2. A Chemical is considered hazardous if it is found on any of the lists of chemicals presented in Section 5.3, or if its NFPA rating is ≥ 1 (Section 5.5).