Thanks to all who have responded thus far. The information is really helpful to a new CHO.
My primary position is college chemistry professor; I am doing the CHO work as an add-on to my teaching duties. In this dual role, I am looking at chemical safety and the (M)SDS requirement as an experienced chemist and as an inexperienced safety officer.
A week ago, I finished an exhaustive look at our chemical inventory and when I matched it to our (M)SDS list, there were lots of holes, mostly from older bottles of compounds. The bottles, labels and contents were still in great shape, but for many, I couldn't locate a physical MSDS, and a quick search online didn't turn up MSDS documents from those manufacturers (some apparently don't exist anymore or have changed their names in corporate reshuffling). It seemed to me as a chemist that a bottle of sodium acetate trihydrate from one company would be identical to one from another, since both are (nominally) pure substances, as we refer to them in general chemistry class. This is the reason I am wondering if in the US, OSHA would accept an MSDS for a compound from a different manufacturer than the one whose bottle we possess. If not, I am facing the prospect of throwing away a rather large amount of stuff.
To summarize, I am hearing from all of you that
Thanks again for all of the excellent responses.
We use ChemWatch and are reasonably happy with it. We still have some =91non ChemWatch' MSDS's as due to the nature of our work not everything we use is in the ChemWatch database.
I can't comment on OHSA, but for us in Victoria, Australia readily accessible (i.e. lab computer, adjoining office computer) electronic versions are acceptable. We also have a requirement that we have the manufacturers MSDS. In an early audit, when we had paper MSDS's in parallel to ChemWatch, the inspector pulled out a bottle of chloroform and asked for the MSDS. Lab staff showed him MSDS from Sigma-Aldrich, inspector said =91 This is from Merck'. Lucky I had my laptop with ChemWatch and called it up! Also it has most MSDS's for sink cleaner, hand soap etc. which, if in a lab, we are required to have an MSDS for.
We also find the ChemWatch =91gold' MSDS's (sort of like a review of MSDS's) very useful for doing risk assessments. You can also make labels (with appropriate symbols), and the =91mini MSDS' feature means you can print out MSDS information in many languages as a single page. Very useful for researchers whose first language is not English. Also can generate a manifest, but someone needs to input what is where.
Contact me if you need any specific details if I can help.
Resources Manager (Medicinal Chemistry)
Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Monash University (Parkville Campus)
381 Royal Parade, Parkville
Victoria 3052, Australia
Tel: Int + 61 3 9903 9551
Fax: Int + 61 3 9903 9143
From: DCHAS-L Discussion ListOn Behalf OfStrode, Kyle
Sent: Friday, 24 May 2013 4:34:40 AM (UTC+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
Subject: [DCHAS-L] (M)SDS access
I am in the process of deciding whether to recommend that my college pay to subscribe to an (M)SDS service (ChemWatch) or download and store my own repository of (M)SDS pdf's. I'd be grateful for your thoughts about the proper way to manage access to (M)SDS by employers.
Thanks for your thoughts!
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