Occupational Safety

City of Pittsburgh
Hazard Communication Program

(Pennsylvania Worker & Community Right to Know Act)


HAZCOM Homepage: An Introduction

The City of Pittsburgh Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) program incorporates all aspects of the Pennsylvania Worker and Community Right to Know Act. The HAZCOM program is administered by the Department of Personnel & Civil Service Commission (P&CSC) Occupational Safety Office and further details regarding the program can be found by contacting the P&CSC Occupational Safety Office. 

The City of Pittsburgh has adopted OSHA guidelines for compliance with HAZCOM.  The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with the Global Harmonizing System (GHS).  The GHS has made changes to the Safety Data Sheets and Labeling requirements in efforts to provide a common and coherent approach to Hazard Communication.

SDS: Safety Data Sheets (formerly MSDS or Materials Safety Data Sheets)

Employers are required to maintain in house copies of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all hazardous substances found at the worksite and to allow them to be readily accessible to employees on site during each work shift.  The P&CSC Occupational Safety Office maintains a master list of all hazardous materials used by employees. 

When acquiring new hazardous substances on a worksite, city facility supervisors are required to inform the P&CSC Occupational Safety Office and provide them with a copy of the corresponding SDS so that the master lists can be updated.  Distributors/ manufacturers are required to send an SDS with shipments 1) if it is the first shipment received of the particular hazardous substance, 2) if an updated SDS has been issued and 3) upon request. 

When a hazardous substance is no longer in use, the P&CSC Occupational Safety Office must also be notified so that it can be noted on the master list as no longer actively being used at the worksite.  Sequentially the outdated SDS from the worksite may be omitted by the department.  


All hazardous substances are required to be labeled and shall be labeled in English.  Labels shall be marked with the identity of the chemical name and immediately convey the hazardous properties of the substance.  Labels regularly incorporate pictograms and numerical scales to help readily identify the hazardous traits of a particular substance.  The name and address of the manufacturer, importer, or otherwise responsible party must also be on the label.  For an example of a sample label click here.  For more information on labeling click here.

Labeling Portable/Secondary Containers:

When hazardous substances are transferred from a container (the primary) to another (the secondary or portable container), the secondary (portable) container must have the same label (or a label which also satisfies all the labeling requirements) as the primary container only under the following conditions:

  • If the hazardous substance is not used within the work shift of the one who made the transfer
  • The employee who transferred the hazardous substance leaves the work area
  • If the secondary container leaves the work area and is no longer in the possession of the individual who filled the container

Not following these guidelines could result in an employee accidentally mixing incompatible materials together or improperly handling a hazardous material, possibly resulting in injury.

HSSF: Hazardous Substance Survey Form

The Hazardous Substance Survey Form (HSSF) list chemicals found under the PA Hazardous Substance List; this form is meant to provide information about hazardous substances, special hazardous substances, and environmental hazards that fall under the state’s Worker and Community Right to Know Act.  HSSFs are posted on site at work place notice boards.  Any conforming substances will be listed on the form along with any relevant exemptions afforded under the act such as chemical stock piles not exceeding normal household quantities or regular usage.  

Employee Training:

All employees who are to handle hazardous substances are required to undergo training in their safe use prior to using or handling them.  Each department administers their own training in the safe use of hazardous substances and the P&CSC Occupational Safety Office is a resource for departments which can assist in ensuring that training programs are adequate or help locate external training resources if needed.  



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