Top 3 Challenges to Managing Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Rachel Krubsack, EHS Editor

June 29, 2021

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Hazard communication routinely makes OSHA’s list of Top 10 violations. A breakdown of that topic shows violations related to safety data sheets (SDSs). Let’s take a look at what OSHA expects when it comes to SDSs and what you need to do to be in compliance.


1. SDSs must be maintained for each hazardous chemical in the workplace

You must maintain an SDS for each hazardous chemical in your workplace. To determine whether you have an SDS for each hazardous chemical, it’s necessary (and required by OSHA) that you compile a list of all hazardous chemicals you have on site. This list can then be checked against the SDSs you have. If any SDSs are missing, contact your supplier and request one. As new or revised SDSs are received, update your files.


2. SDSs must be readily accessible

SDSs must be readily accessible to employees during each work shift when they are in their work area. This accessibility may be accomplished in different ways. Some employers keep SDSs in a binder in a central location (e.g., in a pick-up truck on a construction site). Others, particularly in workplaces with large numbers of chemicals, provide access electronically. However, if access to SDSs is provided electronically, there must be an adequate back-up system in place in the event of a power outage, equipment failure, or other emergency involving the primary electronic system.

No matter what system is used, you must ensure that employees and medical personnel can immediately obtain the required information in an emergency.


3. SDSs must be specific to product and manufacturer

SDSs must be specific to the product and manufacturer. If you’re using the same chemical (i.e., acetone) from different manufacturers, you must maintain the SDS you received for each one.


Let J. J. Keller assist in managing your Safety Data Sheets or call 888.473.4638 for more information.

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