Employee Training (as required by law): employers are required to train employees with respect to chemical hazards and protective measures before employees are exposed to the chemicals, whenever chemicals change, and within 30 days of hiring a new employee that may be exposed to chemicals in the workplace. 

Training shall be conducted:

Within 30 days of initial employment or assignment to a new job where hazardous chemicals are present.
Whenever new chemical hazards are introduced into the workplace.
Annually (as a review).

Employees must be informed of:

Requirements of chemical regulations.
Any operations in their area where hazardous chemicals are used.
Location and availability of MSDS and HazCom Plan.

Training must cover:

Method(s) to detect release(s) of chemicals.
Physical and health hazards.
Measures of personal protection.
Details of the school's HazCom Plan.

Length of Training Sessions

There are several basic functions, and possibly others, in a school that need HazCom training. Four such categories could include: a) custodial/maintenance/food services/nurses, b) teachers, c) trades (art, voc ed, and photo developing), and d) chemical hygiene officer for lab chemicals.  The length of training varies with each category, but the basic elements of the required training must be met.  For example, training for custodial and food service personnel may require an hour or more, while training for teachers may require only 10 minutes.  If there are any specific hazardous substances or situations to be trained on, training sessions may take even longer to complete. Annual reviews may be shorter than initial training, but must provide a review of the topic. Remember, chemicals may not be introduced into the workplace until employees have been trained with respect to their hazards.

Examples for Training Duration:

Staff/teachers exposed to few hazardous substances like disinfectants and cleaners: 5 to 15 minutes per year at in-service training
Custodial staff with 10-15 chemicals normally used in their duties 1 to 1½ hours initially, then an annual review of about 15 minutes.  New chemicals should be trained at the time of purchase.

Important Note!

This training module covers most of the information employees need to know with regard to a HazCom program; however, this module will not cover the location of MSDSs in your area, nor will it provide you with site specific training. Your training is not complete until these two have been covered by your supervisor!

The Four Stages of an effective hazard commuinication program are:

Material Safety Data Sheets
Labeling and Marking Systems
Employee Training Sessions
Written Right-to-Know Plan


In Maine, the supervisor, facility manager, and/or the person responsible for the hazard communication program should be contacted to assist with questions, concerns, and required training.