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General Laws

Section 1. In this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:—

“Article”, a finished product or manufactured item: (1) which is formed to a specific shape or design during manufacture, (2) which has end use function(s) dependent in whole or in part upon its shape or design during end use, and (3) which has either no change of chemical composition during its end use or only those changes of composition which have no commercial purpose separate from that of the article, except that fluids and particles are not considered articles regardless of shape or design unless inert or totally encapsulated.

“CAS number”, the identification number assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service to specific chemical substances.

“Chemical name”, the scientific designation of a substance in accordance with the nomenclature system developed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry or the system developed by the Chemical Abstracts Service.

“Common name”, any designation or identification such as code name, code number, trade name, or brand name used to identify a substance other than by its chemical name.

“Community resident”, any resident of a municipality in which an employer manufactures, processes, uses or stores toxic or hazardous substances as defined in this section.

“Container”, any receptacle or formed or flexible covering for the storage or transport of toxic or hazardous substances including but not limited to a bag, barrel, bottle, box, can, carton, cylinder, drum, pipe, storage tank, both mobile and stationary, vessel or vat.

“DEP”, the department of environmental protection.

“DOL”, the department of labor.

“DPH”, the department of public health.

“Designated representative”, an employee’s treating physician upon written authorization by said employee, and the employee’s collective bargaining agent who is certified, or is recognized by the employer of the employee without regard to written employee authorization. No other individual or organization shall be eligible to serve as a designated representative.

“Employee”, any person employed on or after the effective date of this chapter who is, has been, or may be exposed under normal operating conditions or foreseeable emergencies to any toxic or hazardous substance in a workplace. In the case of a deceased or legally incapacitated employee, the employee’s spouse, guardian or executor may exercise all the employee’s rights under this chapter. For purposes of this chapter, any person whose employment is terminated for any reason after the effective date of this chapter is an employee.

“Employer”, any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association or other entity engaged in a business or in providing services, including the commonwealth and any of its political subdivisions, that manufactures, processes, uses or stores toxic or hazardous substances, but not including the employment of domestic workers or casual laborers employed at the place of residence of the employer. Independent contractors shall be deemed the sole employer of their employees, even when said employees are performing work at the workplace of another employer as defined herein.

“Expose” or “exposure”, any situation arising from or related to the work operation of an employer where an employee or a community resident may ingest, inhale, absorb through the skin or eyes or otherwise come into contact with a toxic or hazardous substance.

“Impurity”, a toxic or hazardous substance which is unintentionally present with another substance or mixture.

“Label”, the written, printed and graphic information displayed on or affixed to the container of a toxic or hazardous substance; or the placards, signs, or operating instructions which communicate the information required by section seven herein.

“Manufacturer”, a person who produces, synthesizes, extracts, or otherwise makes a toxic or hazardous substance.

“Massachusetts substance list”, a compilation of toxic or hazardous substances which are to be subject to the provisions of this chapter.

“Material safety data sheet” or “MSDS”, the written document which sets forth the following information for a toxic or hazardous substance:

(a) The chemical name, any common names, and the CAS number of the toxic or hazardous substance.

(b) The hazards or other risks in the use of the toxic or hazardous substance, including:

(1) the potential for fire, explosion, corrosivity, and reactivity;

(2) the acute and chronic health effects of risks from exposure; including the medical conditions that might be aggravated by exposure; and

(3) the potential routes of exposure and symptoms of overexposure.

(c) The proper precautions, handling practices, necessary personal protective equipment, and other safety precautions in the use of or exposure to the toxic or hazardous substances, including appropriate emergency treatment in case of overexposure at hazardous levels.

(d) The emergency procedures for spills, fire, disposal and first aid.

(e) A description in lay terms, of the specific potential health risks posed by the toxic or hazardous substance intended to alert any person reading this information, including but not limited to carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or neurotoxic effects, for substances so designated on the Massachusetts substance list, pursuant to section four (c) of this chapter.

(f) The month and year that the information was compiled and the name, address, and emergency telephone number of the manufacturer responsible for preparing the information.

“Medical emergency”, a serious medical condition which poses an imminent threat to a person’s health, caused or suspected to have been caused, by accidental exposure to a toxic or hazardous substance, and which requires immediate treatment by a physician.

“Mixture”, any solution or intimate admixture of two or more substances, at least one of which is present as a toxic or hazardous substance, as designated pursuant to section four, which do not react chemically with each other.

“Municipal coordinator”, the fire chief or fire commissioner, or the public health commissioner or public health officer of a city or town as designated by the chief municipal officer of said city or town; provided, however, that in towns, the board of selectmen may designate one of its members, or may appoint any qualified resident of the town to act as municipal coordinator. For the purposes of this chapter, chief municipal officer shall mean in a city, the mayor; in a Plan D or Plan E government, the city or town manager; in a town, the board of selectmen.

“NFPA Code”, the color and number system identifying the category and degree of fire hazard of a substance as adopted by the National Fire Protection Association in “Standard System For the Identification of Fire Hazards of Materials”, NFPA 704 in effect on the effective date of this chapter, and as amended from time to time thereafter.

“Research laboratory”, a workplace or a work area of a workplace used primarily for research, development, nonroutine testing or experimentation activity in which toxic or hazardous substances are used by or under the direct supervision of a technically qualified individual. Provided, however, that a research laboratory shall not be involved in the production or manufacture of goods for direct commercial sale.

“Technically qualified individual”, a person who, because of education, training, or experience, understands the health risk associated with the toxic or hazardous substance or mixture handled by or under his or her supervision, and is familiar with the personal protective procedures to be followed in the use or handling of such substances.

“Trade secret”, any formula, pattern, device, or compilation of information which is used in an employer’s or manufacturer’s business, and which gives said employer or manufacturer an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.

“Toxic or hazardous substance”, any chemical substance or mixture of substances in a gaseous, liquid or solid state which is listed in the Massachusetts substance list compiled in compliance with the provisions of section four, and which is manufactured, processed, used or stored in the workplace, but which shall not include alcoholic beverages as defined in section one of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight, or articles intended for personal consumption by employees in the workplace, or consumer articles packaged for distribution to, and used by, the general public, or articles sold or used in retail food establishments and all other retail trade establishments, exclusive of articles used in processing and repair areas, or substances being transported in interstate commerce.

“Work area”, a room or defined space in a workplace where toxic or hazardous substances are produced, used and where employees are present in the course of their employment.

“Workplace”, an establishment or business of an employer at one geographic location at which work is performed and containing one or more work areas, but not including a police station or public armory in which ammunition is stored. In the case of the commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions acting as an employer, the workplace shall be defined as all work areas wholly owned or controlled by the commonwealth or said subdivisions; in the case of an independent contractor, the workplace shall be defined as all work areas wholly owned or controlled by said independent contractor; provided however, that employees of the commonwealth, or any of its political subdivisions, or an independent contractor shall have certain rights to examine MSDS’s as provided in section eleven (f).

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