Every American has the right to know the hazards to which they may be exposed in their daily living. Right-to-know laws provide information about possible chemical exposures. There are two forms that involve the right to know: Right to Know in the Workplace, and Right to Know in the Community. Below is a list of some of the information that the EPA provides the public in the spirit of right to know in regard to their communities.
- Emergency Planning
- Toxic Substances and Releases
- Environmental in the Community
- Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996
- Air Pollution
- Water Quality
- Lead Program
- Hazardous Waste
The Right to Know in the workplace was established in 1985 with OSHA’s Hazardous Chemicals Standard. Information that the workplace must have accessible to employees are:
- Workplace Inspection Reports
- Medical Records
- Noise, chemicals, and other hazards workers are exposed to
- Workers Comp claim forms and records
- Injury and Illness Records OSHA Standards
- Monitoring Methods
- Accident Investigation Reports
- MSDS– Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to assess hazards of chemicals and pass this information on to purchasers through container labels. Employers must provide information to workers through Material Safety Data Sheets. This detailed information is to be furnished to all employees, and they must be trained to understand the importance of the MSDS, and the risks of the chemicals their workplace may use. These are to be accessible to employees in all work areas.
Because of confidentiality of medical records and other personal data, different laws may apply to certain records, as applicable. It will be interesting to research the different aspects of employees’ and citizens’ right-to-know laws. We hope to bring more detailed information on various subjects to you in the future.
It is important that we do our part to control pollution in our country. We want our schools, communities, homes, and workplaces to be safe havens that don’t make us sick. If you have questions about situations in your surroundings or work environment, contact your local governmental authorities, or the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s your Right to Know.