From: Benjamin G Owens <bowens**At_Symbol_Here**UNR.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Are SDS for existing chemicals required?
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2015 01:50:55 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 852F486739ECB34484E384E1D009D97D2B3FC7B7**At_Symbol_Here**

We’re all in agreement.  My initial response was with respect to what is minimally required by OSHA regulation.  As always, that does not necessarily reflect prudent practice, a good safety program, or cover other potential legal obligations. 




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of ILPI Support
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2015 2:51 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Are SDS for existing chemicals required?


Technically, that is correct.


I don't know that I'd rely on a 26 year old intepretation in that regard.  As I peruse the HazCom Standard, I think the language in paragraph b ("are received with incoming shipments") is  written that particular way to try and avoid having lab workers thinking they have to create an SDS for any new chemical they make (that's only required when you ship that new material somewhere).   Think about where this can lead - what if an employer throws away every SDS and when the inspector asks why there aren't any SDS he claims that they never received any?  There's no basis to cite even though it seems almost certain there was a willful violation.


Further, under the Lab Standard, the CHP requires that the employer provide information and training that keeps workers apprised of the hazards of chemicals in their work areas and related information.  While SOP's are part of that, it seems reasonable that an SDS is part of that necessary training, particularly for chemicals not covered under SOP's.  The lab standard requires employers to inform workers on PEL's, signs of exposures, as well as "the location and availability of reference materials on the hazards, safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals in the laboratory, including, but not limited to, MSDSs"  It also includes "measures that workers can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including protective equipment, appropriate work practices, and emergency procedures"  Honestly, I don't know where you get all that in one place besides an SDS.  Got the SDS - you're covered.  If not, you better have that all written up nice and neat somewhere! Obviously, that's why labs should choose to request them on their own.


Loopholes are slippery slopes and can often leave you hanging when you least expect it.  Best to err on the side of having all the bases covered.


Rob Toreki



Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names

you know and trust.  Visit us at

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On Feb 3, 2015, at 4:22 PM, Benjamin G Owens <bowens**At_Symbol_Here**UNR.EDU> wrote:



With regard to the regulatory requirement, laboratories are only required to maintain SDSs which the chemical supplier sends..  Laboratories are not obligated to request a SDS from the supplier.  Of course, many labs choose on their own to request a SDS if it was not provided.


Non-laboratory workplaces are required to have a SDS for every chemical present., and must request one from the supplier if was not provided.


Below is a cut and paste from the OSHA interpretations (, then "Enforcement:, then “Standard Interpretations”).






June 5, 1989


Mr. Dennis P. Johnson

Staff Industrial Hygienist

Kerr-McGee Corporation

Kerr-McGee Center

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73125

Dear Mr. Johnson:


This is in response to your letter of November 28, 1988, and a follow-up to your telephone conversation with Mrs. Jennifer Courtney of my staff, in which you requested an interpretation of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, as it relates to laboratories and our requirements with respect to material safety data sheets (MSDS). Please accept my apology for the delay in this written response.


The HCS addresses laboratories in a more limited fashion than it does for other types of establishments. An employer is only required to maintain those MSDS which the supplier sends. There is no affirmative obligation for a laboratory to request or otherwise procure data sheets.


We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have further questions.




Patricia K. Clark, Acting Director

Directorate of Compliance Programs




Ben Owens

Assistant Director, Laboratory Safety

Environmental Health and Safety Dept., MS 328

University of Nevada, Reno 89557

Office Phone: 775-327-5196

Cell Phone: 775-843-2113

Fax: 775-784-4553




-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Harbaugh, Brad
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2015 11:41 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Are SDS for existing chemicals required?


The Lab Standard generally defers to the HazCom Standard on the issue of Safety Data Sheets and labels, except for certain situations. The following is general guidance from OSHA on safety data sheets. This has not changed with GHS adoption. The following is paraphrased from - and this recent guidance:  :


OSHA says: Employers are required to have SDSs for all hazardous chemicals that they use


If you do not receive an SDS automatically, you must request one as soon as possible. If you cannot show a good faith effort to receive the SDS, you can be cited for not having the SDS for a hazardous chemical


If any are missing, contact your supplier and request one. It is a good idea to document these requests, either by keeping a copy of a letter or e-mail, or a note regarding telephone conversations


Do not allow workers to use any hazardous chemicals for which you have not received an SDS. The SDS provides information you need to ensure that proper protective measures are implemented prior to worker exposure.


If you receive an SDS that is obviously inadequate, with, for example, blank spaces, you must request an appropriately completed one.


If your request for an SDS or for a corrected SDS does not produce the information needed, you should contact your local OSHA area office for assistance in obtaining the SDS.


Some suppliers provide SDSs for products that are not hazardous. These SDSs do not have to be maintained.


OSHA Says: In order to ensure that you have a current SDS for each chemical in the plant as required, and that worker access is provided, OSHA's CSHOs will be looking for the following items in your program:


Designation of person(s) responsible for obtaining and maintaining the SDSs;


How such sheets are maintained in the workplace (e.g., in notebooks in the work area(s) or electronically), and how workers obtain access to them when they are in their work area during the work shift;


Procedures to follow when the SDS is not received at the time of the first shipment;


An SDS for each hazardous chemical in the workplace, and training of workers that includes review of SDS format and use.


Brad Harbaugh


Direct: 1.312.881.2855

Visit us at:





-----Original Message-----

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of MATTHEW FINUCANE

Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2015 1:25 PM


Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Are SDS for existing chemicals required?


The lab standard requires that: "1910.1450(h)(1)(ii) Employers shall maintain any safety data sheets that are received with incoming shipments of hazardous chemicals, and ensure that they are readily accessible to laboratory employees"


So if the vendor or manufacturer did not supply an SDS it doesn=B9t appear you must have one. I am not sure OSHA can require you to produce an SDS if you say that it was not supplied with the chemical.



Matt Finucane

Executive Director

Environmental Health and Radiation Safety University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215.898.6057

Mobile: 215.651.0551








-----Original Message-----

From: <Bradley>, Shelly <Bradley**At_Symbol_Here**HENDRIX.EDU>

Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>

Date: Friday, January 30, 2015 at 10:30 AM


Subject: [DCHAS-L] Are SDS for existing chemicals required?


>Do I need GHS compliant Safety Data Sheets for existing chemicals?

>Do I still keep the original MSDS as well?

>Do they have to be from the original manufacturer?

>What if the manufacturer  no longer exist?

>Thanks in advance for your help,


>Shelly Bradley


>Authorized OSHA Trainer

>Instrumentation Specialist

>Laboratory Development Assistant

>Campus Chemical Compliance Director

>Department of Chemistry

>Hendrix College

>Conway, AR 72032

>Ph:    (501) 450-3812

>Fax:   (501) 450-3829



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