Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Questions for Q-Bot: OSHA Updates MSDS to SDS

Dear Q-Bot: I've heard that the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is changing to an SDS (Safety Data Sheet). Is this true and what are the changes? Thank you. – R.C. in NY via email

Dear R.C.:
Yes, it is true that the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) will now be known as the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). This is part of OSHA's (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) goal to match their requirements to the United Nation's GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) standards. The main goal of these changes is to save time, money, and lives. The Q Source Resource will be presenting a more detailed look at these changes in an upcoming feature, but for now let's look at the SDS changes. To align with the UN's GHS, OSHA’s HazCom 2012 regulations call for the MSDS to now be called SDS and require a 16-section layout with specific information in each section. The current standard (HazCom 1994) does not require the MSDS information to be presented or formatted in a specific way. The new SDS format will be familiar to many U.S. workers because it uses the same format as the ANSI standard.

The sixteen sections and required information for the new SDS are as follows:

  1. Identification of the substance or mixture and of the supplier – This section must include the manufacturer/distributor name, a product identifier, the address and phone number of the contact, an emergency phone number, and the recommended use with any restrictions listed.
  2. Hazards identification – This section refers to all hazards regarding the chemical and includes the required label elements.
  3. Composition/information on ingredients – This section contains the chemical ingredients and any trade secret claims.
  4. First aid measures – This section includes vital data about symptoms/effects (acute or delayed) and what treatment is required.
  5. Firefighting measures – This section pinpoints the recommended extinguishing techniques, what firefighting equipment is necessary, and what chemical hazards are present from a fire.
  6. Accidental release measures – This section pertains to the emergency procedures, protective equipment, and proper approaches to cleanup/containment needed from an accidental release.
  7. Handling and storage – This section describes precautions for safe handling and storage and points out any incompatibilities.
  8. Exposure controls/personal protection – This section lists the appropriate engineering controls and recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) and advises about OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) and Threshold Limit Values (TLVs).
  9. Physical and chemical properties – This section presents the chemical’s characteristics.
  10. Stability and reactivity – This section warns of possible hazardous reactions and describes the chemical’s stability.
  11. Toxicological information – This section lists the numerical measures of toxicity, routes of exposure, related symptoms, and the acute/chronic effects.
  12. Ecological information - This section lists the ecological information.
  13. Disposal considerations - This section contains the disposal considerations.
  14. Transport information - This section lists the transport details.
  15. Regulatory information - This section describes the regulatory information.
  16. Other information including information on preparation and revision of the SDS – This section contains information regarding the date of preparation, last revision, and all other pertinent facts.
Please Note: While sections 12-15 must be included in the SDS to meet GHS standards, the content of those sections will not be enforced by OSHA because it falls under the jurisdiction of other agencies.

The first deadline for the new GHS standard and SDS format is December 1, 2013: Employers need to have begun training employees about the new GHS standard including the chemical label essentials and the new Safety Data Sheets. Future deadlines include June 1, 2015 (reclassification of chemicals by chemical manufacturers, distribution of SDSs, and updated chemical labels), December 1, 2015 (updated SDSs and chemical labels should be included with shipped products), and June 1, 2016 (Workplace labeling and hazard communication updated and full GHS compliance achieved).

There you have it, a quick look at OSHA’s new Safety Data Sheet format. This is slightly less detailed than my RDS (Robot Data Sheet), but that’s a story for another day.

For further information, please see the references below. Thanks for your question, R.C., and please continue reading The Q Source Resource blog. — Q-Bot

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