Worker Right to Know

Community and worker right-to-know law

The Washington State Legislature enacted the Worker and Community Right-to-Know Act in 1984 to help people understand the potential dangers of the hazardous chemicals they work with and live near.

A hazardous chemical is any chemical or mixture of chemicals that can hurt people physically or cause health problems. Most industrial chemicals are hazardous. The law’s purpose is to protect the safety and health of people at work and at home.

Employer chemical hazard communication rule

The Department of Labor & Industries administers the worker right-to-know portion of the law through the Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication rule, Chapter 296-901, WAC. The rule requires employers to inform and train their employees about the hazards of chemicals they may be exposed to during normal working conditions or in foreseeable emergencies.


Community right to know

The Washington State Department of Ecology ( is responsible for both federal and state community right-to-know programs. Ecology provides information to citizens and public health and safety organizations about hazardous materials in their communities. Information is available on air and water emissions, hazardous wastes, pesticide use, disposal of household substances and the environmental compliance history of any company.

To request information, call Ecology's Hazard Substances Information Line, 1-800-633-7585.

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