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Updated: November 10, 2011
Chemicals in Schools
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Common Abbreviations and Acronyms
CHO = Chemical Hygiene Officer
CHP = Chemical Hygiene Plan
DEP = Department of Environmental Protection
DOE = Department of Education
DOL = Department of Labor
IPM = Integrated Pest Management
MSDS = Material Safety Data Sheets
OSHA = Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration
1. Do rules related to chemicals in schools apply to both public and private schools?1. The Maine Chemicals In Schools Program is governed by state and federal regulations. Part of the state regulation (Maine Department of Education CMR 05-071 chapter 161) includes federal regulations (29 CFR 1910.1200 and 29 CFR 1910.1450) that were adopted by the State of Maine. The federal regulations apply to both public and private schools. The adopted federal regulations, governed by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), include but are not limited to: Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP), Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO), Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Hazard Communication Program, and an annual inventory of hazardous chemicals.
2. Where do I find the form to complete my annual inventory of hazardous chemicals?2. The form is available on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection web site at www.maine.gov/dep and on the Maine Department of Education School Facilities Services/Transportation Team web site at http://www.maine.gov/education/const/HOME/home.htm.
3. If a school administrative unit (SAU) is in compliance with Chapter 161 regulations is a separate written compliance plan required under Chapter 161?3. While there is no specific requirement for a written compliance plan, there are requirements for other written documents: Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP), Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), inventory of hazardous chemicals, and hazard communication program. Also, Chapter 161 requires that schools establish a Hazardous Chemical Screening Process to review and approve the purchase of any hazardous chemical. Best practice suggests writing a document that defines the process.
4. What training is required for a Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)?4. There is no detailed training specified. However, a performance specification is noted in the federal standards: the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) is qualified by training or experience, to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). Given the highly technical and complex nature of managing chemicals, best practice suggests that a Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) have both experience and training and/or education in chemicals.
5. Where can I find information about training for a Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)?5. The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) offers safety training through the SafetyWorks! Program. Training recommended for Chemical Hygiene Officers (CHOs) includes but is not limited to: School Laboratory Safety, Hazard Communication, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hazard Assessment. You can register for training on their website: www.safetyworksmaine.com.
6. Is the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) required to be an employee of the school administrative unit (SAU) or can s/he be a contractor?6. According to the Maine Department of Labor (DOL), the chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) in an educational facility shall be an actual employee of the educational facility system. An educational facility cannot appoint a private consultant or contractor as their Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO).
7. Where do I send our inventory of hazardous chemicals?7. After adopting federal standards, the Maine Department of Labor (DOL) no longer requires that inventories be sent to them. However, according to CMR 05-071, chapter 161, the inventories shall be collected. At this time, we request that your inventory of hazardous chemicals be sent to the Maine Department of Education School Facilities Services/Transportation Team annually by October 15.
8. Will information regarding chemicals in schools be made public?8. Under the Maine Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) and the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the information will be made available to the public.
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