Hazard Communication

Employee Right-To-Know Standard

University laboratories are loaded with chemicals containing properties that can cause illnesses, injury and even death to those who may be exposed to them in quantities exceeding a safe threshold. In an attempt to protect employees (and all affected persons) who may be exposed to these chemicals in the workplace, the Hazard Communication Standard (adopted by the state of Florida, under the authority of Chapter 442, Florida Statutes, as the Florida Right-to-Know standard) was promulgated.


The Right-to-Know Standard requires a full evaluation of all chemicals in the workplace, especially laboratories, for possible physical or health hazards, and that any such hazards are identified and communicated to employees, or those who could reasonably be expected to be exposed.

The areas specifically covered in the Standard include:

  1. Determining the hazards of chemicals
  2. Providing Material Safety Data Sheets
  3. Assuring proper and appropriate labeling practices
  4. Hazard controls
  5. Employee Training
  6. Maintaining a written Hazard Communication Program

The FIU Laboratory Safety Program requires the application of each of these six requirements to all hazardous materials or agents (chemical, biological, radiological, etc.) acquired, used, stored or held for disposal at any university operated laboratory. For your convenience, a template is provided below for area-specific hazard communication plans.

Developing a Department HAZCOM Program

Each department is strongly encouraged to develop an area-specific written Hazard Communication Program using the template provided below.

If your area already has one developed, please make sure of its compliance by comparing it to the template and the six minimum requirements above.

Download the HAZCOM Template

IMPORTANT: This document can be freely manipulated. All areas that should be edited have been highlighted or underlined. We strongly advise AGAINST removing or changing any information/parts that have not been designated to do so, as this may put your lab at risk of falling out of compliance.

Hazard Communication Standard Pictograms

Flame over circle

  • Oxidizers


  • Flammables
  • Pyrophorics
  • Self-Heating
  • Emits Flammable Gas
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides

Exploding bomb

  • Explosives
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides

Skull & Crossbones

  • Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)


  • Skin Corrosion/Burns
  • Eye Damage
  • Corrosive to Metals

Gas Cylinder

  • Skin Corrosion/Burns
  • Eye Damage
  • Corrosive to Metals

Health Hazard

  • Carcinogen
  • Mutagenicity
  • Reproductive Toxicity
  • Respiratory Sensitizer
  • Target Organ Toxicity
  • Aspiration Toxicity

Environment (non-mandatory)

  • Aquatic Toxicity

Exclamation mark

  • Irritant (skin and eye)
  • Skin Sensitizer
  • Acute Toxicity (harmful)
  • Narcotic Effects
  • Respiratory Tract Irritant
  • Hazardous to Ozone Layer (Non-Mandatory)