Both the Federal OSHA and Cal/OSHA Hazard Communication (Hazcom) Standards require that every hazardous chemical used in the workplace must have an accompanying safety data sheet (SDS), previously referred to as MSDS. The SDS is a detailed document that describes the chemical and its components, its physical and chemical properties, its potentially hazardous effects, and information on protective measures. The manufacturer is responsible for providing the SDS to the employer with chemical shipments; and the employer is responsible for making the SDS information available to employees.
Employees must be able to easily find a specific SDS. Additionally, employers must include information on how to read an SDS as part of Hazcom training, which is required for employees initially upon employment or when a job or process modification introduces a new chemical hazard.
A 3-ring binder is commonly used to keep SDSs, along with the chemical inventory list (which is also required). The chemical inventory is usually filed first, followed by the individual SDSs arranged alphabetically. An alphabetical listing provides a simple and accurate method to find a specific SDS. SDSs can also be kept on a computer as long as employees are trained on how to access them.
If your office is missing safety data sheets, the person responsible for maintaining SDSs onsite should contact the manufacturer to request one.
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