Retain MSDSs at least until the applicable chemical product is no longer present in the workplace or until you receive a revised Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the same product. We recommend you keep the old MSDSs in a three-ring binder, and start a new binder for SDSs.
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) must be readily accessible during each work shift when employees are in their work areas. Electronic access and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the SDSs are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options. What would happen if power was lost? How conveniently located is the computer? What if the computer crashes? In many cases, paper copies are the best option.
Yes, hazard communication is a component of an overall Laboratory Safety Program.
Yes, to a limited extent. In this situation, employees need information and training to protect themselves in the event of a spill or leak of a hazardous chemical from a sealed container and employers must ensure that labels on incoming containers of hazardous chemicals are not removed or defaced. Supervisors may choose to include shipping and receiving employees to the same extent as other covered employees.
The Hazard Communication Standard does NOT apply to labeling of pesticides that have their own labeling regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, other provisions do apply, such as Safety Data Sheets.
Yes, including, but not limited to:
- Hazardous waste as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA);
- Tobacco or tobacco products;
- Wood or wood products where the only hazard is due to flammability or combustibility;
- Food or alcoholic beverages;
- Cosmetics intended for personal use by employees while in the workplace;
- Ionizing and nonionizing radiation;
- Biological hazards;
- Consumer products where the employer can show that it is used in the workplace for the purpose intended by the chemical manufacturer of the product, and the use results in a duration and frequency of exposure which is not greater than what is reasonably experienced by consumers.
Under the current Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), the label preparer must provide the identity of the chemical, and the appropriate hazard warnings. This may be done in a variety of ways, and the method to convey the information is left to the preparer. Under the revised HCS, once the hazard classification is completed, the standard specifies what information is to be provided for each hazard class and category. Labels will require the following elements:
- Pictogram: a symbol plus other graphic elements, such as a border, background pattern or color that is intended to convey specific information about the hazards of a chemical. Each pictogram consists of a different symbol on a white background within a red square frame set on a point (i.e. a red diamond). There are nine pictograms under the GHS. However, only eight pictograms are required under the HCS.
- Signal words: a single word used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label. The signal words used are "danger" and "warning." "Danger" is used for the more severe hazards, while "warning" is used for less severe hazards.
- Hazard Statement: a statement assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
- Precautionary Statement: a phrase that describes recommended measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical, or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical.
There are nine pictograms under the GHS to convey the health, physical and environmental hazards. The final Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires eight of these pictograms, the exception being the environmental pictogram, as environmental hazards are not within OSHA's jurisdiction. The hazard pictograms and their corresponding hazards can be seen in the GHS pictograms link to the right.
The information required on the safety data sheet (SDS) will remain essentially the same as that in the current standard (HazCom 1994). HazCom 1994 indicates what information has to be included on an SDS, but does not specify a format for presentation or order of information. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) requires that the information on the SDS be presented using specific headings in a specified sequence. The SDS format is the same as the ANSI standard format which is widely used in the U.S. and is already familiar to many employees.
The format of the 16-section SDS should include the following sections:
- Section 1. Identification
- Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
- Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
- Section 4. First-Aid measures
- Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
- Section 6. Accidental release measures
- Section 7. Handling and storage
- Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
- Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
- Section 10. Stability and reactivity
- Section 11. Toxicological information
- Section 12. Ecological information
- Section 13. Disposal considerations
- Section 14. Transport information
- Section 15. Regulatory information
- Section 16. Other information, including date of preparation or last revision
The SDS must also contain Sections 12-15, to be consistent with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Although the headings for Sections 12-15 are mandatory, OSHA will not enforce the content of these four sections because these sections are within other agencies' jurisdictions.
For more information
Hazardous Materials Specialist