There are a few issues related to any system of MSDS whether paper or electronic. Primarily from a document control standpoint, a central electronic system that people can freely access is best. Paper copy control with widely disperse placement are difficult to maintain with the latest version of information. That brings me to a couple of other related issues such as the â€˜dateâ€™ of the MSDS. I have seen paper copies running over 10 years old with outdated information. We have begun to stress that 3 years should be the appropriate age for paper copies and from an ISO perspective for factories these are typically marked â€˜non-controlledâ€™ copy as they can be easily removed, torn, spoiled rending them useless in an emergency. Another issue is that â€˜smallâ€™ companies that lack resources have a tendency to â€˜copyâ€™ information onto their letterhead without regard to understanding if the information is correct or accurate. I have witnessed many inappropriate cut and paste MSDS.
I agree that the information contained is severely lacking for toxicological risk exposure to the environment or trace chemicals.. Perhaps we have moved past the initial intent of MSDS to provide a â€˜hazardousâ€™ classification to workers for PPE. In that regard, I think they are adequate. If you are attempting to understand and do full risk exposure to the environment they are severely lacking and from a business standpoint protecting intellectual properties of mixtures is a fine line for information disclosure. As downstream users, it becomes increasingly difficult to tease out information from several tiers deep in the supply chain.
Technical Director Chemical Compliance Management
PLEASE NOTE: My email address has changed to jromano**At_Symbol_Here**lb.com.
Thought of the week! An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out. Max Planck
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Monona Rossol
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 8:26 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Online SDS subscription and emergencies
And the US OSHA chose not to comply with most of section 11 on toxicology. You need to go to companies that export or score an EU SDS on the same chemical to find out which of the 10 toxicology/environmental tests have actually been done. And if WorkSafe Canada does what they say they intend to do--which is to refuse to "harmonize" with the US, they will do Section 11 right, will retain the requirement to identify carcinogens, mutagens and teratogens in amounts greater than 1% (which we have dropped) and will not exempt consumer products as we have. The Australian SDSs also require identification of carcinogens, sensitizers and teratogens whether or not they are trade secrets.
One by one, it is other countries that will raise the level of worker protection and information. We certainly will not and we put pressure on these countries not to raise their standards.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President: Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012 212-777-0062
From: Bruce Van Scoy <brucev**At_Symbol_Here**BRIGHT.NET>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Apr 24, 2014 7:22 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Online SDS subscription and emergencies
Your right that MSDSâ€™s significantly lack in quality, especially for everything that we need to look for and SDSâ€™s are standardized - regarding format, but watch out for the country of origin for the chemical. Each country can decide which sections of the GHS standard that they will adhere to.
Just a word of caution, nothing replaces due diligence,
MSDS's leave a bad taste in my mouth, but I am not going to turn away from a tool that can only increase safety performance. I embrace them for they are a good starting point. I do not dispute that an MSDS, or today an SDS, is a useful tool (especially for the blue collar worker). Sometimes you can even get the flashpoint or autoignition temp or the DOT designations, but I have found inconsistencies and errors over the years. I have also seen MSDSâ€™s fail to mention that a substance is listed as a 2B carcinogen. Ask yourself how many times have you had to seek other data after reading the SDS (i.e. HSDB, Toxnet, IRIS, NTP, ACGIH, RTECS, NIOSH, ATSDR, Merck, a peer reviewed article, or some other source). They are often anemic and vague with repetitive catch phrases (i.e. follow all Federal, State and local regulations, Use appropriate personal protective equipment, not fully investigated, etc.). Like many written plans, the SDS is just a document to meet the requirements of the law.
Honestly, I think that the SDSâ€™s should be prepared by a single agency and not the manufacturers attorneys. This would make sense, but who would bear that burden? (Perhaps the World Health Organization). At least the SDS has now been standardized. Further, the SDS is for the most part are for the pure substances and when they are for a mixture the proprietary thing gets in the way. I have signed many consent decrees to get the exact ingredients and concentrations of formulations on the basis of exposure and waste determination needs. But as always, I find myself searching the literature for further information - ok, i'm done venting, let me get to the point â€¦
I think that the electronic SDS software is great If it makes laboratory staff use them, and if it works with you inventory program it seems like a no brainer. You should ask -
Are the employees making good use of the inventory program?
Are employees more likely to refer to SDSâ€™s and use them more often in electronic format as opposed to hard copy?
What are the problems with your current hard copy system?
Will they have better access to SDSâ€™s (i.e. via their â€œdeviceâ€=9D)?
Are there connectivity issues (i.e. rural areas) ?
Can you track the usage by the users?
Do you have emergency generators?
For the emergency situations short of apocalypse â€“ If there is a command center with back-up power then what is the problem with on line system? â€“nothing! If the critical network systems are down ( satellites, gas, water, electricity), then I think the last thing anyone will be looking for is an SDS. The spirit of the law is that employees have basic right to know the hazards in the workplace, which is how the SDS is to be used. I think that many misinterpret the need for SDSâ€™s in emergency situations. For that, inventory lists with haz mat categories and locations form your inventory program would probably be of more useful. I think that it is neat your area supervisors bring an SDS binder to the emergency assembly point or emergency room (has a physician ever look at the binder, they use NIH/NLM HSDB).
Lastly, does anyone know of anyone getting cited for not having an MSDS or SDS? I'd love to know if anyone is on record for failure to maintain MSDSâ€™s? ever been fined? or any injury or illness blamed on a lack of MSDS?
Good luck in whatever decision you make. If your institution can afford to pay for the access, it certainly worth prototyping it for a period of time and then evaluating the effectiveness.
Just my $0.02
James Saccardo, CHMM
I'm at Dr. Crowl's University. I was a member of the selection and later the implementation committee for MSDS-online for the University. Al (our OSHS and dchas member) can expand on this but MSDS-online is available on any computer, anyplace including off campus, but it is protected behind our University login system. That includes smart phones and we even post QR codes on lab doors with direct access to the link, although if you use a "tough" password it is a bit of pain to login (upper case, special characters, etc. require a bit of manipulation and you don't have that finger muscle memory to type it out). But, I have direct confirmation that it acceptable to inspectors - during a recent MIOSHA inspection I was asked to produce an MSDS (pre-SDS) for a chemical, I used my smartphone and he accepted it (I did have to "prove" I was using MSDS-online, not Google, by showing him the log in). BTW, as a back up there is also a "fax back" option if you want to call and have a specific MSDS faxed to you.
Michigan Tech University
On Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 5:24 PM, Daniel Crowl <crowl**At_Symbol_Here**mtu.edu> wrote:
I believe the OSHA lab standard requires that the MSDS's be available at all times within the laboratory. Not down the hall or in another room.
With on-line access to an MSDS library, I'm not sure if this has all been settled with OSHA.
Technically, if you have a computer in the lab with internet access 100% of the time this should be OK. Not clear how this will work in an emergency.
My university has an online service, but I still prefer hard copy in my lab. I only have a dozen chemicals so it is no big deal.
Maybe others will have more information.
On Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:16 PM, Suzy Arnette <suzyarnette**At_Symbol_Here**boisestate.edu> wrote:
We are looking to get a subscription to MSDSOnline that links in with our inventory software. All of a sudden we are getting a lot of questions about what people should do in an emergency. They have been trained to grab their MSDS binder and go to the emergency room, etc. and the idea of not having something tangible is worrying a lot of people.
Have any of you dealt with this issue? How have you talked your customers down and encouraged them to embrace the new system? How do you handle emergencies and accessing MSDSOnline remotely?
Thanks so much,
Suzy Arnette, PhD
Lab Safety Officer
Radiation Safety Officer
Boise State University
Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability
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