Employers have until Dec. 1 to train employees on how to read the new sheets.
WASHINGTON -- This year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) begins the transition of the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) system to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) 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 (GHS) which is a world-wide system.
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, but there are several important dates to keep in mind:
- December 1, 2013 – Employers must train their employees on how to read the new SDS sheets by this date. Your library of MSDS will begin to slowly turn over to the new SDS format as manufacturers move to the new format.
- June 1, 2015 – Chemical manufacturers will have completed their transition to the new SDS format and system.
- December 1, 2015 – Distributors must complete their transition to the new SDS format. After this date, all labels in the United State should be in the new 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. Employers now should be reviewing their existing MSDS internal systems for handling the integration of the new sheets in their libraries and planning for employee training on the new sheets.
For more information on this transition, click here. To access OSHA's web site on this MSDS/GHS/SDS transition, go to http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs.html.