As of June 1, 2015, the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will require all Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) to be in the standardized format set forth by 29 CFR 1910.1200(g). A SDS, (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS) was constructed to conform to the Globally Harmonized System, a globally accepted classification of health, physical and environmental hazards. After the deadline of June 1st, OSHA compliance will require that SDSs be in the designated format.
HCS regulatory compliance mandates chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers of hazardous materials to provide SDSs (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to downstream users for each chemical hazard. The format includes 16 standardized sections arranged in a strict order. The information contained within the SDS is similar to its MSDS predecessor. However, SDSs will be required to comply with the standardized visual layout, allowing workers who handle hazardous chemicals to have a comprehensive familiarity and understanding of the required data.
The safety compliance SDS format includes section numbers, headings, and associated information under the headings below:
Section 1, Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.
Section 2, Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.
Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.
Section 4, First-aid measures includes important symptoms/ effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.
Section 5, Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.
Section 6, Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.
Section 7, Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.
Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).
Section 9, Physical and chemical properties lists the chemical's characteristics.
Section 10, Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.
Section 11, Toxicological information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.
Section 12, Ecological information* provides information to evaluate the environmental impact of the chemical(s) if it were released to the environment.
Section 13, Disposal considerations* provides guidance on proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container, and safe handling practices. To minimize exposure, this section should also refer the reader to Section 8 (Exposure Controls/Personal Protection) of the SDS.
Section 14, Transport information* provides guidance on classification information for shipping and transporting of hazardous chemical(s) by road, air, rail, or sea.
Section 15, Regulatory information* identifies the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific for the product that is not indicated anywhere else on the SDS. The information may include:
- Any national and/or regional regulatory information of the chemical or mixtures (including any OSHA, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, or Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations)
Section 16, Other information, includes the date of preparation or last revision. This section may also state where the changes have been made to the previous version. You may wish to contact the supplier for an explanation of the changes. Other useful information also may be included here.
Employers must also ensure that SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace. Although the requirement does not dictate a specified communication method, employees have immediate access to the information without leaving their work area. In the event of a power outage or other emergency, a backup SDS must be available for rapid access. From an emergency management standpoint, it may be advantageous to house SDSs within a web-based, database driven framework to ensure accessibility from multiple locations in the event a catastrophic event renders paper copies or company servers inaccessible.
*Note: Since other Agencies regulate Sections 12 through 15, OSHA will not be enforcing these sections.