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The Right-To-Know Law

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated the Right to Know Law, also known as the Hazards Communication Standard, in 1982. The State of Michigan adopted the Federal Standard in 1986 and added additional requirements in the State of Michigan Right To Know Law (MRTKL) (Act No. 80 Amendments to Act 154 Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act).

The MRTKL requires all employees that work with hazardous chemicals to conform with the law regardless of their employer's status as a manufacturer or nonmanufacturer. The law has three sections:

  1. Michigan's Right to Know Law - provides access to chemical information to workers whose jobs involve the routine use of hazardous chemicals. Five requirements characteristic of the Federal Standard also apply to employers under the Michigan Right to Know law;
  1. Develop a written plan to meet the requirements of the Right-to-Know law,
  2. Provide to all employees who work with hazardous chemicals, safety education and training,
  3. Provide availability and use of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs),
  4. Label all containers of hazardous chemicals.
  5. Evaluate chemicals produced in their workplaces to determine if they are hazardous.
  1. Michigan's Firefighter Right to Know Law - provides the fire chief "of the organized fire department for the jurisdiction in which the person is located" the right to request and receive a list of chemicals and MSDSs used at a specified location. Under the law, if the fire chief requests it, the following information must be provided within ten working days of the query:
    1. A listing of all hazardous chemicals at the location,
    2. MSDSs for all hazardous chemicals at the location and,
    3. Information pertaining to the quantity and location of the chemicals.

In addition, an employer must provide the fire chief with a written update "when there is a significant change relating to fire hazards and the quantity, location or presence of hazardous chemicals in the workplace." EHS has this information on electronic database and will provide for this contingency when required.

  1. Michigan's Community Right to Know (RTK) - Made it possible for any resident of an employer's county to request a listing of and Material Safety Data Sheets for all hazardous chemicals present at that employer's workplace. The 1986 Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) replaced the Community Right to Know Law. Under Title III of SARA, an employer is required to provide an even more comprehensive statement regarding hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Title III of SARA significantly enhances a resident's as well as a worker's access to relevant chemical safety information. Any queries for information regarding the RTK from community residents should be referred to EHS.


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