You run a tight ship, always making sure products are out on time without defects. Despite your hard work, an unintentional mistake on an Safety Data Sheet (SDS) can render your chemical or product unsafe.
Manufacturers, distributors, and importers of chemicals deal with Safety Data Sheets everyday, which is why is you need to know what to include on your SDS sheets for chemicals and products containing hazardous materials.
Read on to make sure you are up to speed on the newest OSHA regulations, aware of GHS standards for data sheets, and how to make your SDS sheets valid and accessible for customers and employees.
The One-Percent Rule
All manufacturers, distributors, and importers of hazardous chemicals must create an SDS sheet for chemicals that pose potential hazards to employees handling them when the chemical is found in a quantity “1% or greater, or 0.1% or greater if the chemical is a carcinogen,” according to OSHA Standards.
If you are questioning whether or not to create an SDS sheet for chemicals in your workplace, understand that a YES to any of the following means you need an SDS:
- Does the chemical meet the one-percent rule?
- Are employees exposed to consumer products for a length of time or frequency that is greater than a normal consumer would be exposed?Even window cleaner and corrective fluids require an SDS sheet for chemicals if they meet this standard
- Is the chemical hazardous?Offices and work environments are not required to create an SDS for chemicals that are not hazardous
Your safety and R&D teams will help to determine whether a chemical that you manufacture requires an SDS sheet. When in doubt, it’s probably best to create an SDS sheet for chemicals that pose potential safety hazards and keep your customers safe.
What to include:
An SDS sheet for chemicals needs to contain relevant information in each of the 16 sections outlined by OSHA’s SDS Guidelines. These requirements are updated regularly, so make sure to stay tuned to OSHA’s regulatory announcements.
If you need a starting point for chemical knowledge, consider OSHA's Chemical Database with information maintained by OSHA on hundreds of chemicals. It includes the following information on each chemical:
- Physical Properties
- Exposure Guidelines
- NIOSH Pocket Guide,
- Emergency Response Information, including the DOT Emergency Response Guide
GHS (Globally Harmonized System) Standards
GHS (Globally Harmonized System) standards for SDS sheets for chemicals were developed from the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Agenda 21, Chapter 19 (and endorsed by the UN General Assembly). Following the GHS guidelines will help you if you distribute or manufacture chemicals that are imported or export any products containing hazardous materials. In other words, don’t let international red tape limit your bottom-line; become familiar with and incorporate GHS standards in your existing SDS sheets for chemicals.
Accessibility and Updates
Two ways that companies fail to create valid SDS sheets for chemicals in their workplace are in the arenas of accessibility and updates to the safety sheets.
SDS sheets for chemicals stored on a computer meet the OSHA regulations for employee accessibility only if a computer is in the employee’s work area. If you think your employees have access to an SDS sheet but their computer is outside of the work area, your SDS is not up to OSHA standards.
Keeping your SDS sheets updated is crucial. Any SDS sheet for chemicals must be updated within three months “of learning new or significant information,” per OSHA regulations. Ensure the validity of your SDS sheets distributed to employees and customers by keeping them updated.
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