OSHA Changing MSDS System Over Next 4 Years

Published in the June 2013 Issue Published online: Jun 02, 2013

This year OSHA begins the transition of the Material Safety Data Sheets system to the Safety Data Sheet system.

This transition will align the MSDS system now used in the United States with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The MSDS system is a method of outlining a chemical’s characteristics, its dangers and how it can be handled, stored and disposed of safely.

Companies are required by federal law to maintain a written inventory of all chemicals used in the company’s facilities to which employees are exposed, a library of the

MSDS for each chemical, proper labeling and warnings for each chemical and training employees on the hazards and necessary precautions in handling those chemicals.

The new SDS system will be implemented over the next four years. Here are key dates to keep in mind:

• Dec. 1, 2013 – Employers must train their employees on how to read the new SDS sheets by this date.

• June 1, 2015 – Chemical manufacturers will have completed their transition to the new SDS format and system.

• Dec. 1, 2015 – Distributors must complete their transition to the new SDS format.

• June 1, 2016 – All employers should be compliant with the new system, have their SDS libraries updated with new SDS, updated their hazard communications plan to comply with the new system and any new hazards identified, and completed training of employees on any new hazards or precautions identified by the SDS system.

Visit www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs.html.