Gone are the days of the old MSDS binder! (Or so we like to think…) Many of our clients love our Foundation system for SDS management for the direct link set up option which they can setup on public computers throughout their facility; however, I’ve been surprised at how many exercise the option for us to send a zip file every 6 months so that they can print updated SDSs for a hard copy binder in order to meet the OSHA requirement for hazardous communication.
Recently, a client asked me to send him information on the OSHA standard stating that the electronic accessibility meets the requirements and my search for a simple link to send his way yielded not only the reassurance he was seeking but also a great refresher for myself on the requirements of the information provided in a Safety Data Sheet (or, when I was in the field, a MSDS).
Per OSHA: The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)), revised in 2012, requires that the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly MSDSs or Material Safety Data Sheets) for each hazardous chemical to downstream users to communicate information on these hazards. The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, except now the SDSs are required to be presented in a consistent user-friendly, 16-section format (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3514.html).
The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical. The information contained in the SDS must be in English (although it may be in other languages as well). In addition, OSHA requires that SDS preparers provide specific minimum information as detailed in Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.1200. The SDS preparers may also include additional information in various section(s).
Employers must ensure that the SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace. This may be done in many ways. For example, employers may keep the SDSs in a binder or on computers as long as the employees have immediate access to the information without leaving their work area when needed and a back-up is available for rapid access to the SDS in the case of a power outage or other emergency. Furthermore, employers may want to designate a person(s) responsible for obtaining and maintaining the SDSs. If the employer does not have an SDS, the employer or designated person(s) should contact the manufacturer to obtain one.
Cassie Lee is an Account Manager and Business Development Professional with over a decade of experience in environmental consulting. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-983-1719 with any questions or for assistance on services mentioned in this post.