Beginning in 2013, you will start seeing new safety data sheets (SDS’s) arrive in your chemical product shipments. By June 1, 2015, all manufacturers will be required by OSHA to include the new safety data sheets the first time they ship a chemical to a customer site.
Employers are required to train all employees on the new safety data sheets and labels by December 1, 2013.
“Just about every commercial business today has hazardous chemicals onsite, even if it’s just cleaning chemicals,” said Tom Smith, Director of Safety Consulting and Training for IBT. “The employer must keep this safety sheet out and ready to use, until a revised version comes along to replace it.”
Employee Access Requirements
Every worker at your business must have access to the safety data sheets, and there must be one sheet available for every hazardous chemical onsite, according to OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200.
“OSHA wants every employee to know if they are being exposed to a hazardous chemical,” Smith said. “But it also helps employees to figure out what to do if there’s a chemical spill on the warehouse floor at 2:00 a.m.”
Smith said that the safety data sheets also help to protect companies from frivolous litigation—although companies are not required to keep them permanently. “Many companies choose to keep their safety data sheets for 30 years, to help provide information in the event of a future lawsuit, or to help determine the cause of future health issues,” he said.
Keep Chemical Inventory—30 Years
All companies with chemical hazards onsite are still required to keep a complete chemical inventory list as a record for future exposure issues. The inventory must identify every hazardous chemical at the business, and should be updated regularly, as chemicals change (OSHA requires a minimum of annual updates).
Your chemical inventory must be kept for a minimum of 30 years, and is not required to be posted. However, it should be available for employees to review upon request, during normal business hours.
“It’s to your advantage to update the chemical inventory every time a chemical hazard is added or removed,” said Smith. “That way, you’ll have an accurate record if you have a future health issue, 10 years down the road. It can help protect your business, as well as your employees.”
New 16-Section Format
The new safety data sheets have a standardized, 16-section format mandated by OSHA. Eventually, they will replace the older material safety data sheets (MSDS’s) that have been used by businesses since the 1980s.
The new safety sheets can use any document format, but must include all 16 topics—in the following order:
- Section 1—Identification
- Section 2—Hazard 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 (not OSHA-enforced)
- Section 13—Disposal considerations (not OSHA-enforced)
- Section 14—Transport information (not OSHA-enforced)
- Section 15—Regulatory information (not OSHA-enforced)
- Section 16—Other information
Sections 12-15 are placeholders that will be used in the future for other agencies—such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
IBT can help you set up a safety program that compiles with the OSHA regulations for the new safety data sheets. Call Tom Smith at (816) 699-3968 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.