In many workplaces, employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals and other hazardous materials. Prior to the enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers had no duty to distribute information on the hazardous materials to which their workers were exposed. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the subsequent regulations, require employers to furnish employees with Access to medical and exposure information, Personal protective equipment, and Information on hazardous materials they may be exposed to in the workplace.
Manufacturers and importers of hazardous materials must conduct hazard evaluations of the products they manufacture or import. If a product is found to be hazardous under the terms of the standard, the manufacturer or importer must so indicate on containers of the material, and the first shipment of the material to a new customer must include a material safety data sheet (MSDS). Employers must use these MSDSs to train their employees to recognize and avoid the hazards presented by the materials.