Robert Moats, CIH, CSP, Fremont, CA (

The OSHA HazCom standard has been around for many years now (relatively speaking) and has become one of those things that isn't glamorous any more (ergonomics is). Your peers do not speak in HazCom terms anymore; everyone has moved on. You think you have a handle on HazCom, you purchased a HazCom video training tape, management of the training has been relegated to Human Resources, and you have a summer intern photocopying MSDS's and putting them in binders. Well, read Mr. McManus's book and see how wrong you can be.

Mr. McManus's (and his co-author Gilda Green's) book is the most comprehensive treatment of the HazCom requirements I have ever read. If you have read the entire US Federal OSHA HazCom standard, you know how daunting it is; Mr. McManus provides a very readable explanation of that standard as if 'reading between the lines' for you. In this book is extensive coverage of all aspects of the HazCom regulation and HazCom training; additionally, there are sections on learning and effective methods of training (as this book is about training).

One particularly valuable section of this book is the great deal of helpful guidance on the problems with missing information on material safety data sheets (MSDS's), how to deal with the declaration of trade secrets, and what can be about it. I am sure that if you have worked with MSDS's, you have run into the situation of missing information, declarations of trade secrets, or confusing information on many of these documents.

If you are small business and cannot afford those fancy video tapes or you don't have the resources of a consultant or a full time professional, this is an ideal book. It is written clearly in fundamental language (there are some areas of the MSDS that just don't lend themselves to simple terms, such as the toxicity information), and the McManus/Green team do their best to bring the more complex topics to terms that are easier to understand; this is particularly valuable if you have to turn around and explain it to a bunch of employees who have to work with the chemicals.

As for those difficult questions that have been around for a long time and never get answered, seasoned safety and health professionals will find the answers to those questions in this book. Mr. McManus has addressed all those questions directly. At the end of each chapter is a 'Question and Answer' section, and this is the part of the book I found to be the most valuable. Things I have wondered about for years, Mr. McManus has address in this section.

This is almost a complete package for a small business owner, and is primarily written from that perspective. However, from the perspective of a seasoned safety engineer and industrial hygienist, it has proven to be a most valuable resource for me. This thin, tall book is a gem. Read what you have been missing about the HazCom.