What is a material safety data sheet or MSDS?

What is a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)? – Back to top A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical product.

  • It is an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety program.
  • It also contains information on the use, storage, handling and emergency procedures all related to the hazards of the material.
  • The MSDS contains much more information about the material than the label.
  • MSDSs are prepared by the supplier or manufacturer of the material.

It is intended to tell what the hazards of the product are, how to use the product safely, what to expect if the recommendations are not followed, what to do if accidents occur, how to recognize symptoms of overexposure, and what to do if such incidents occur.

What is the purpose of the SDS sheet?

What is an SDS? – Back to top Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are summary documents that provide information about the hazards of a product and advice about safety precautions. SDSs are usually written by the manufacturer or supplier of the product, and must be provided by the suppliers of the hazardous products at the time of sale.

  • In some circumstances, an employer may be required to prepare an SDS (e.g., when the product is produced and used exclusively in that workplace).
  • SDSs provide more detailed hazard information about the product than the label.
  • They are an important information resource for workplaces and workers about the product(s) used.

Use this information to identify the hazards of the products you use, and follow the recommended safe handling and emergency measures to protect workers from those hazards. SDSs tell users what the hazards of the product are, how to use the product safely, what to expect if the recommendations are not followed, how to recognize symptoms of exposure, and what to do if emergencies occur.

What are MSDS used for and who provides them?

Sections 311 and 312. Hazardous chemical inventory reporting – Facilities manufacturing, processing, or storing designated hazardous chemicals must make Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) describing the properties and health effects of these chemicals available to state and local officials and local fire departments.

  1. Facilities must also report, to state and local officials and local fire departments, inventories of all on-site chemicals for which MSDSs exist.
  2. Information about chemical inventories at facilities and MSDSs must be available to the public.
  3. Section 2018 of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act also amended EPCRA Section 312, and required state and local authorities to provide affected community water systems with information for facilities within their source water area.

Read full chapter URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128243152000725

What is the difference between data sheet and MSDS?

Digging deeper: some differences between MSDS and SDS – With time and experience, we acquire more knowledge — and things evolve. It’s no different with the Safety Data Sheet replacing the MSDS. We know more now. And have the opportunity to share it for the sake of crew safety.

  • Safety Data Sheets provide more standardization and a 16-section format, as opposed to the prior 9-section MSDS format, that leaves no room for confusion — critically important when it comes to the safe handling of dangerous chemicals
  • Safety Data Sheets are provided in a consistent, regulated format, making it easier for employees to find the information they need to stay safe
  • Safety Data Sheets provide more-easy-to-digest information through the use of pictograms and labels for hazardous materials

Reference this handy chart to see how the MSDS evolved into the more consistent and easy-to-understand standards found in the Safety Data Sheet:

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
Identity of the chemical
Physical and chemical properties of the chemical (flammability and explosive properties)
Health hazards of the chemical
First-aid measures for exposure to the chemical
Fire-fighting procedures for the chemical
Protective measures for handling and using the chemical
Hazard statement
Signal word
Ingredients and percentages of mixed chemicals

How do I get an MSDS sheet?

To access a SDS, search for it either with a general search engine, such as Google, or visit the specific manufacturer’s or SDS service websites listed on the Environmental Health & Safety’s website: https://ovpr.uchc.edu/services/rics/ehs/chemical-safety/.

Who needs SDS sheets?

All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

Who uses SDS sheets?

SDS’s are meant for: Employees who may be occupationally exposed to a hazard at work. Employers who need to know the proper methods for storage, safe use etc. Emergency responders such as fire fighters, hazardous material crews, emergency medical technicians, and emergency room personnel.

When must an MSDS be provided?

May 7, 1993 Mr. Jere D. Kimmel Regulatory Management Associates, Inc.9207 Outlook Drive Overland Park, Kansas 66207 Dear Mr. Kimmel: This is in response to your inquiry of April 14, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200.

Your first concern addresses the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III reporting requirements, which is under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) jurisdiction and can be better addressed by the EPA. You may write to your Regional EPA Office at: EPA Region 7 726 Minnesota Avenue Kansas City, Kansas 66115 (913) 551-7000 or call the EPA RCRA/Superfund/UST hotline at the following number: 1-800-424-9346.

Your second question addresses the suitability of a generic material safety data sheet (MSDS). As you are probably aware, the requirements for MSDSs are found in paragraph (g) of 29 CFR 1910.1200. MSDSs must be developed for hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, and must list the hazardous chemicals that are found in a product in quantities of 1% or greater, or 0.1% or greater if the chemical is a carcinogen.

  1. The MSDS does not have to list the amount that the hazardous chemical occurs in the product.
  2. Therefore, a single MSDS can be developed for the various combinations of K, P and N in your fertilizer, as long as the hazards of the various fertilizer mixtures are the same.
  3. This “generic” MSDS must meet all of the minimum requirements found in 29 CFR 1910.1200(g), including the name, address and telephone number of the responsible party preparing or distributing the MSDS who can provide additional information.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8036. Sincerely, Roger A. Clark, Director Directorate of Compliance Programs April 14, 1993 Roger A. Clark Director of Compliance Programs US Dept.

  • Of Labor – OSHA RM #3461 200 Constitution Ave.N.W.
  • Washington, D.C.20210 Re: OSHA Instruction CPL-2-38C Oct.22, 1990 Office of Health Compliance Assistance Page A-31 (9)(4) Dear Mr.
  • Clark: I am writing you at the suggestion of Glen Taylor of the Kansas City Regional OSHA office.
  • My business, Regulatory Management Associates, Inc., provides consultation, SARA Title III reporting, MSDS Data Bank and training services involving OSHA/ Employee Right-To-Know Laws and EPA/Community Right-To-Know Laws to the Golf Course and Lawn Care industry including the Turf Chemical Distributors that supply them.

The purpose of this letter is to have a clarification of the MSDS policy toward the class of chemicals that make up fertilizer; N-Nitrogen P-Phosphorus K-Potassium (NPK). Presently, at least 80% or more of the manufacturers are providing an MSDS for each combination.

  • This is a monumental task when you consider each ingredient usually will range from 0 to 40 in content.
  • Depending on the weather and region of the country an average Golf/Lawn facility may have up to 20 different combinations.
  • Multiply that by individual preferences of the managers of each of these facilities and you have almost endless possibilities.

According to the SARA Title III reporting the general TPQ of chemicals not specifically listed is 10,000 lbs. or more. This, I understand, we report by the MSDS assigned to the combination. For example: 5-10-5 – 4,000 lbs., 10-10-10 – 5,000 lbs., 0-0-40 – 6,000 lbs., 30-0-0 – 5,000 lbs., 30-20-10 – 7,000 lbs., 10-15- 20 – 8,000 lbs., 20-10-5 – 3,000 lbs., 40-0-0 – 9,000 lbs., – Total lbs.

  • Equals 47,000 lbs.
  • There is no reportable 311 or 312 quantity since the report is based on the individual chemical as defined by the MSDS.
  • As you can visualize the quantity could be over 100,000 lbs.
  • If you add the NPK combinations with pesticides that are used.
  • I might add that most fertilizer storage areas are located near streams, lakes or storm sewers.
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The community and its first responders have a “Right-To-Know” so that proper planning can take place. In addition, because of the countless combinations possible, the manufacturers have a logistical problem in supplying the required MSDS’s. The problem exists at the facility of having the correct MSDS of each NPK combination.

  • We can resolve the problem by instructing the manufacturer to produce a generic MSDS for all NPK combinations with maybe the exception of Ammonium Nitrate and Potassium Nitrate.
  • Without complicating matters, I would also suggest that the NPK in pesticide combinations be recognized in the same manner.

To Summarize: 1. Instruct or allow manufacturers to write generic MSDS’s for all NPK combinations including slow release treated.2. Instruct or allow manufacturers to write generic MSDS’s for all NPK combinations with pesticides that consist of the same chemicals.3.

What is the purpose of a data sheet?

Data Sheets and Specifications – Data sheets are used to capture process, mechanical, electrical, and control requirements for equipment and instruments. The sheets incorporate information about the selected components, usually with input from vendors after purchase.

  1. Preliminary data sheets are often issued to vendors to obtain budgetary prices; the prices can be used when preparing detailed cost estimates.
  2. Examples of process data sheets are in other chapters and listed in the index (Heat Exchangers, Vessels, etc.).
  3. Process engineers also complete a portion of instrument data sheets, providing performance requirements.

Figure 17-9 is an example. While process engineers may be tasked with completing the entire instrument data sheet, at a minimum they give requirements related to the process performance. Figure 17-9, Instrument data sheets are prepared by process, instrument, and other engineering disciplines. Read full chapter URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123877857000177

What products require a MSDS sheet?

Safety data sheets are an essential component of product stewardship, occupational safety and health. However, they are not required for every product or material. OSHA only requires safety data sheets (SDSs) for hazardous products or chemicals, GLT Products, along with other manufacturers are not required to provide SDSs for non-hazardous materials or products. As of June 2015, the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) now requires pictograms on labels to alert users of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed to. Displayed below are pictograms of the symbols that represent a distinct hazard(s). The pictogram on the label is determined by the chemical hazard classification. The simple fact to keep in mind is that if it is a hazardous chemical or product, a safety data sheet will be required, If it is a manufactured product, the odds of an SDS existing may be slim. Topics: Safety Data Sheet, OSHA, Hazardous

WHO issues MSDS?

2.1 Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) are documents prepared by the manufactures/ suppliers of the chemicals and contain information on physical and chemical properties of the material, potential hazards of the material and how to work safely with these materials.

What is MSDS now called?

From MSDS to SDS – MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) is now called an SDS (Safety Data Sheet). The purpose of both MSDS and SDS documents remains unchanged and is to list the information pertaining to the occupational health and safety for the various uses of the substances and products.

Where is MSDS located?

OSHA MSDS Rules A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a safety document required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that contains data about the physical properties of a particular hazardous substance. MSDS sheets are created for a variety of hazard materials including compressed gases, flammable and combustible liquids, oxidizing materials, poisonous or infectious material, corrosive material and dangerously reactive materials.

The purpose of the Material Safety Data Sheet information is to convey chemical safety and hazard information to the end user (employees exposed to hazardous chemicals, employees who store dangerous chemicals, and emergency responders such as: firefighters, hazardous material crews, and emergency medical technicians).

Material Data Safety Sheets are a critical component of the United States OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, which states that “anyone who might handle, work with or be exposed to hazardous materials must have access to the Material Safety Data Sheets.” An MSDS sheet is a nine-section safety document detailing the toxicity, use, storage, handling and emergency procedures of hazardous substances.

The MSDS describes chemical safety and hazards that may be involved with the product and safety measures that should be taken in order to minimize or avoid adverse outcomes that may result from chemical exposure, chemicals in the workplace, improper storage or handling of a hazardous substance, and chemical hazards.

Material Safety Data Sheet information is intended to provide employees and emergency personnel with safety measures for handling or working with hazardous substances in a safe manner. The OSHA requirements for MSDS format include placing the following categories on every Material Safety Data Sheet: Section I.

  1. Manufacturer’s Name and Contact Information Section II.
  2. Hazardous Ingredients/Identity Information Section III.
  3. Physical/Chemical Characteristics Section IV.
  4. Fire and Explosion Hazard Data Section V.
  5. Reactivity Data Section VI.
  6. Health Hazard Data Section VII.
  7. Precautions for Safe Handling and Use Section VIII.

Control Measures Both chemical manufacturers and employers with chemicals in the workplace must comply with GHS MSDS regulation. OSHA violations (failure to comply with OSHA requirements) may result in OSHA citations and OSHA penalties upwards of $70,000 per violation per instance.

  • Below are the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s current guidelines for employer compliance.
  • Regulations (Standards – 29 CFR) Guidelines for Employer Compliance (Advisory) – 1910.1200 App E
  • Regulations (Standards – 29 CFR) – Table of Contents
  • Part Number: 1910
  • Part Title: Occupational Safety and Health Standards
  • Subpart: Z
  • Subpart Title: Toxic and Hazardous Substances
  • Standard Number: 1910.1200 App E
  • Title: Guidelines for Employer Compliance (Advisory)

“Material Safety Data Sheets” Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to obtain or develop a Material Safety Data Sheet for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. Distributors are responsible for ensuring that their customers are provided a copy of these MSDS sheets.

Employers must have a MSDS data sheet for each hazardous material which they use. Employers may rely on the information received from their suppliers. There is no specified format for the MSDS under the rule, although there are specific information requirements. OSHA has developed a non-mandatory format, OSHA Form 174, which may be used by chemical manufacturers and importers to comply with the rule.

The Material Safety Data Sheet must be in English. You are entitled to receive from your supplier a data sheet which includes all of the information required under the rule. If you do not receive one automatically, you should request one. If you receive one that is obviously inadequate, with, for example, blank spaces that are not completed, you should request an appropriately completed one.

If your request for a data sheet or for a corrected data sheet does not produce the information needed, you should contact your local OSHA Area Office for assistance in obtaining the MSDS sheet. The role of MSDS solutions under the rule is to provide detailed information on each hazardous chemical, including its potential hazardous effects, its physical and chemical characteristics, and recommendations for appropriate protective measures.

This information should be useful to you as the employer responsible for designing protective programs, as well as to the workers. If you are not familiar with material data sheets and with chemical terminology, you may need to learn to use them yourself.

to view MSDS Authoring Services’ Glossary of Terms. Generally speaking, most employers using hazardous chemicals in the workplace will primarily be concerned with MSDS information regarding hazardous effects and recommended protective safety measures. Focus on the sections of the Material Safety Data Sheet information that are applicable to your situation.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be readily accessible to employees when they are in their work areas during their work shifts. This may be accomplished in many different ways. You must decide what is appropriate for your particular workplace. Some employers keep the MSDS information in a binder in a central location (e.g., in the pick-up truck on a construction site).

  1. Others, particularly in workplaces with hazardous chemicals, computerize the Material Safety Data Sheet information and provide access through terminals.
  2. As long as employees can get the MSDS information when they need it, any MSDS system approach may be used.
  3. The employees must have access to the Material Safety Data Sheet information themselves – simply having an MSDS system where the safety sheet information can be read to them over the phone is only permitted under the mobile worksite provision, when employees must travel between workplaces during the shift.
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In this situation, they have access to the MSDS information prior to leaving the primary worksite, and when they return, so the telephone system is simply an emergency arrangement. In order to ensure that you have a current MSDS sheet for each chemical in the plant as required, and that employee access is provided, the compliance officers will be looking for the following types of information in your written program:

  • Designation of person(s) responsible for obtaining and maintaining the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS);
  • How such safety data sheets are to be maintained in the workplace (e.g., in notebooks in the work area(s) or in a computer with terminal access), and how employees can obtain access to them when they are in their work area during the work shift;
  • Procedures to follow when the MSDS sheet is not received at the time of the first shipment;
  • For producers, procedures to update the MSDS when new and significant health information is found; and,
  • Description of alternatives to actual data sheets in the workplace, if used

For employers using hazardous substances, the most important aspect of the written program in terms of MSDS sheets is to ensure that someone is responsible for obtaining and maintaining the MSDS sheets for every hazardous chemical in the workplace. The list of hazardous chemicals required to be maintained as part of the written program will serve as an inventory.

  1. Be careful about your SDS Sheets as the penalties are set by OSHA as listed below:
  2. OSHA Penalties

Below are the penalty amounts adjusted for inflation as of Jan.2, 2018.

Type of Violation Penalty
Serious Other-Than-Serious Posting Requirements $12,934 per violation
Failure to Abate $12,934 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated $129,336 per violation


  • State Plan States
  • States that operate their own and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA’s.
  • For More Assistance
  • OSHA offers a variety of options for employers looking for compliance assistance.
  • The provides professional, high-quality, individualized assistance to small businesses at no cost.
  • OSHA also has compliance assistance specialists in most of our 85 Area Offices across the nation who provide robust outreach and education programs for employers and workers.
  • For more information, please contact the nearest to you.
  • From
  • For additional MSDS authoring resources, please,
  • Sampling of premier Material Safety Data Sheets created for hazardous chemicals and substances. Ensure that your workplace is compliant with the requirements of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). : OSHA MSDS Rules

    Are MSDS sheets free?

    While manufacturers have to provide free MSDS sheets, suppliers do not ship always them to customers. This makes it difficult for employers to provide sheets to their employees. Our (M)SDS database has compiled an online resource to help you find free printable material data sheets.

    How many items are on a MSDS sheet?

    According to the ANSI standard and GHS, an MSDS should always have 16 sections, each with a fixed heading name.

    Do all chemicals need an SDS?

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    1. What products require an SDS?
      • Any product that is considered a hazardous chemical requires a safety data sheet. A hazardous chemical, as defined by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), is any chemical which can cause a physical or a health hazard. This determination is made by the chemical manufacturer, as described in 29 CFR 1910.1200(d).
    2. Where do SDSs come from?
      • Safety data sheets are created by the manufacturer and/or distributor of the hazardous chemical. SDSs are updated by the chemical manufacturer or distributor within three months of learning of “new or significant information” regarding the chemical’s hazard potential.
    3. What is the difference between an SDS and an MSDS?
      • There is no difference between an MSDS and an SDS, both are generic terms for safety data sheets. Under the transition to GHS standards, the term material safety data sheet was updated to safety data sheet. Safety data sheets (SDS) typically refer to documents that are compliant with the GHS standard.
    4. What are the 5 elements of a written HAZCOM program?
      • There are 5 main elements to a Hazard Communication Program:
      1. Written Hazard Communication Program
      2. Inventory of hazardous chemicals and hazard assessment
      3. System for maintaining MSDSs
      4. Chemical labels and warning signs
      5. Training programs
    5. Can MSDSs be stored on a computer to meet the accessibility requirements of HAZCOM?

      If the employee’s work area includes the area where the MSDSs can be obtained, then maintaining MSDSs on a computer would be in compliance. If the MSDSs can be accessed only out of the employee’s work area(s), then the employer would be out of compliance with paragraphs (g)(8) or (g)(9),

    6. What are the container labeling requirements under HAZCOM?

      Under HCS, the manufacturer, importer, or distributor is required to label each container of hazardous chemicals. If the hazardous chemicals are transferred into unmarked containers, these containers must be labeled with the required information, unless the container into which the chemical is transferred is intended for the immediate use of the employee who performed the transfer.

    7. How Do I read an SDS?
      • If you need to read an SDS to find information for a given material, there are two steps for you to follow. First, find the right document; second, find the specific details you need.
      • Finding the right document should be easy. Every chemical manufacturer or importer must provide an SDS for any hazardous materials they sell, and OSHA requires that all workplaces in the United States keep an SDS for every hazardous chemical onsite. If you need to find an SDS, you can often search in the system for the applicable identifying information such as: product name, product code, trade name, synonym, etc.
      • Once you have an SDS, check the first section for the name and basic description of the material, to make sure that you are looking at the right information. The product identifier, or name of the material, should exactly match the name that appears on the material’s container. You’ll also want to ensure the SDS is up-to-date; the last part of the SDS (Section 16) will usually include the date of the document’s preparation, although this may also be printed at the top of the first page.
      • Once you know you have the right document, it’s time to find the right detail. Depending on what you need to find, you may look in different parts of the document. For example:
        • Identifying information about the material will be in Section 1: Identification
        • Details of the material’s hazards, and basic safety instructions, will be in Section 2: Hazard Identification
        • For first aid and medical response to exposures, see Section 4: First-Aid Measures
        • To respond to a spill or leak, look in Section 6: Accidental Release Measures

    Learn more about, : ERROR: Trying to get property ‘site’ of non-object

    Is SDS all mandatory?

    Exempt: Office and School Supplies – According to the first OSHA interpretation listed below, “,clerical workers. may not be subject to the requirements of the HCS. Office workers who encounter hazardous chemicals only in isolated instances are not covered by the rule.

    1. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers most office products (such as pens, pencils, adhesive tape) to be exempt under the provisions of the rule, either as articles or as consumer products,
    2. For example,.copier toner.
    3. OSHA has previously stated that intermittent or occasional use of a copying machine does not result in coverage under the rule.

    However, if an employee handles the chemicals to service the machine, or operates it for long periods of time, then the program would have to be applied.” For example, if an employee uses a solvent to clean a typewriter once a year, that situation does not require an SDS.

    • But if the employee cleans typewriters every day as a repair person, then an SDS is required.
    • There will likely be occasions when someone will ask for an SDS when one is not required or demand a written statement that no SDS is required.
    • See How should we handle SDS requests for materials that do not require an SDS? for further information.

    How should we handle SDS requests for materials that do not require an SDS? As discussed above, items that are not hazardous or that are specifically exempted in the OSHA HazCom Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200 do not require an SDS. Section G.2 of the OSHA Inspection Procedures for the HazCom Standard explicitly states the standard requires SDSs only for hazardous chemicals.

    The HCS does not require manufacturers, or importers to supply SDSs for non-hazardous chemicals. Nonetheless, some downstream clients may still insist on an SDS in cases where one is not required. If you encounter someone who will not accept a verbal assurance, OSHA has suggested providing a written statement such as ” This product is not considered to be or to contain hazardous chemicals based on evaluations made by our company under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200,

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    ” This gives the requesting party something that they can put in their files and saves the manufacturer from needless work. For items that are specifically exempted from coverage under the Standard, your statement should reflect the specific exemption(s) and the specific paragraph(s) of the standard which applies.

    On the other hand, you may receive an SDS for something that is truly not hazardous. For example, Amerex has an SDS for deionized water used in water mist fire extinguishers, According to the OSHA Inspection Procedures for the HazCom Standard section G.4.b, if an SDS is provided for a non-hazardous material, the receiving party is not required under HCS to maintain that SDS.

    However, your attorney may advise you to keep it anyway just to be sure. For more information see this OSHA interpretation letter titled Application of the Hazard Communication Standard to art materials industry, Who do I have to give an SDS to and what is “downstream flow”? As mentioned previously and discussed below, manufacturers and distributors are under no OSHA obligation to supply SDS’s to consumers.

    • We encourage manufacturers to make SDS’s freely available to everyone, but suggest that the sheets carry a notice explaining that SDS’s are meant for occupational use, not consumer use.
    • The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200 requires a “downstream flow” of information.
    • For example, the original manufacturer or importer, Employer A, must create an SDS for any hazardous chemical that they produce.

    When they ship that to a commercial customer or distributor, Employer B, they must send the SDS to Employer B. If Employer B then ships the chemical to another firm, Employer C, it is Employer B’s responsibility to pass the SDS “downstream” to Employer C. Employer B Employer C Note: While this flow diagram indicates “Employer C”, an upstream supplier might ship a material to more than one physical location for a particular downstream employer. In such cases, the SDS must be sent to each location where the material is used, not simply the employer’s main office.

    See Responsibility of chemical manufacturers and importers to provide MSDSs to one or more establishments owned and managed by same employer. According to this OSHA intrepretation titled The acceptability of your “FAX-on-demand” system for providing copies of material safety data sheets (MSDS) : Your primary obligation in supplying MSDSs is to your direct customers, that is, your distributors.

    You must provide a copy of the MSDS with the first shipment to each of your direct customers, and, if the MSDS for one of your products is updated, you must send the updated MSDS with the next shipment of the product to that direct customer. Your distributors are, in turn, responsible for supplying a copy of the MSDS with the first shipment to each of their direct customers, and so on.

    • However, because this chain of information transmission through the distributor can sometimes be broken, OSHA has added the requirement that manufacturers must provide a copy of the MSDS to other “downstream” employers upon request.
    • Your “FAX-on-demand” system can be used to fulfill this requirement.

    Please refer to revised language in paragraphs (g)(6) and (g)(7) of the standard for additional clarification on requirements for providing MSDSs. In general, if you need an SDS, you should get it from your “upstream” supplier. If that is not possible, then the manufacturer must supply one on request (as long as you are an employer that requires an SDS under the Hazard Communication Standard).

    Consumers : As stated previously, many manufacturers or distributors are happy to give an SDS to anyone who asks but they are under no OSHA obligation to distribute these to consumers, See this OSHA interpretation letter and the downstream flow entry above for more information about how SDS’s are supposed to be distributed. Create a culture of safety in your workplace with safety scoreboards from Safety Emporium. Dozens of homeowners have asked us about demanding/requesting SDS’s from contractors whose work they believe has caused them harm – for example, fumes, odors and/or illnesses from newly installed carpet, flooring, sealants etc. Although most contractors will gladly provide an SDS, they are under no regulatory obligation to do so. If you are certain that the material meets the OSHA definition of hazardous then the contractor is required to have an SDS for his employee’s use. If not, he is in violation of OSHA regulations. Just the threat of reporting the contractor to OSHA for willful non-compliance is probably enough to change his mind. Alternatively, a letter from an attorney might work, too. If you have no luck with the contractor, try the original manufacturer’s web site or toll-free number. But if you want to know for certain whether there are potentially hazardous fumes in your house, have the air professionally tested. Look under “Laboratories, Analytical” or “Laboratories, Testing” in your local yellow pages. If you are intent on having copies of SDS’s for all hazardous chemicals used during a home repair project, you should list this as an explicit requirement in the written contract. Of course, SDS’s aren’t meant for consumers, but they seem to give some folks a peace of mind. What about those signs you see in home improvement stores about SDS’s being available on request? Yes, SDS’s are available there, but under the “downstream flow” concept and as discussed in paragraph (g)(7) of 29 CFR 1910.1200, the Hazard Communication Standard, the store is only obligated to give them to customers who are employers, Therefore, a consumer who asks may or may not get one, but there is no harm in asking! Employees, Employees must have ” ready access ” to SDS’s while they are in their workplace. There can be no barriers to access – you should not have to fetch a key, ask a supervisor, submit a request etc. SDS’s must be on hand for every hazardous chemical ” known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency. ” There are some exceptions to this rule, of course. Employers, See Who do I have to give an SDS to and what is “downstream flow”? above. Also see How come I don’t always get SDS’s when I order chemicals. Contractors, See What requirements are there for contractors or multi-employer sites?, Former employees, Under the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1020, Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records, your employer is required to keep a record of your exposure to hazardous materials at work. These ” employee exposure records ” are to be kept at least 30 years after you terminate employment.1910.1020 allows employers to use SDS’s as part of or in lieu of other sorts of documentation. As described in the previous hyperlink, you or your designated representative (union rep, attorney etc.) have a right to see your records at no cost and to obtain copies. See also our FAQ entry Can I throw away old or outdated SDS’s?

    When did MSDS change to SDS?

    What are the compliance deadlines? – HazCom 2012 established a number of compliance deadlines.

    • December 1, 2013: Employers have trained employees on the format and presentation of the HazCom 2012 labels and SDS.
    • June 1, 2015: Compliance met for the new HazCom provisions, with one exception. Distributors had until December 1, 2015 to ship products with the new GHS labels
    • June 1, 2016: Employers update alternative workplace labels and HazCom programs and provide training on newly identified hazards.

    As a practical matter, the most significant major change required by June 1, 2015, was the switch from MSDS to SDS. The information contained in SDS is similar but not identical to that in an MSDS, and the SDS must be presented in a new “user-friendly,” 16-section format. with the following section numbers and headings:

    1. Identification
    2. Hazard(s) Identification
    3. Composition/Information on Ingredients
    4. First-Aid Measures
    5. Fire-Fighting Measures
    6. Accidental Release Measures
    7. Handling and Storage
    8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
    9. Physical and Chemical Properties
    10. Stability and Reactivity
    11. Toxicological Information
    12. Ecological Information (non-mandatory)
    13. Disposal Considerations (non-mandatory)
    14. Transport Information (non-mandatory)
    15. Regulatory Information (non-mandatory)
    16. Other Information

    For details about the specifications for each of these 16 sections, please see Appendix D of 29 CFR § 1910.1200. Please note that Fed/OSHA has stated that it will not enforce the SDS requirements related to Sections 12 through 15 since other agencies already enforce these requirements, see 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2).

    Is SDS a Safety Data Sheet?

    The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs ) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products.