We have the same situations at UNR, as I’m sure do all larger organizations. At UNR, EH&S posts electronic copies of all SDSs that it receives, plus many more that we look up for the purpose of linking our chemical inventory with hazard information, to a searchable database. This database is accessible to all people at our university. Hard copies of SDS that are included with chemical shipments stay with the shipment and therefore make it to the lab that ordered the chemical.
Not all suppliers send the SDS with the hazardous material. Some suppliers send it by separate mailing to some generic official in the organization (e.g., safety officer). When the organization receives this mailing, it may route this SDS to someone who has nothing to do with the laboratories and does not understand what should be done with this SDS. Larger organizations have another complicating situation. The supplier interprets the requirement to send a SDS to a customer fulfilled when such SDS is sent to any location of that organization. In the case of my former employer, the first purchase of a chemical might be from any of several research, analytical, quality assurance labs (domestic or international), or even an individual sales representative. We try to get our lab personnel to watch out for the SDS and forward it to the appropriate person. But if they do not receive the SDS, they often forget to follow up with the supplier.
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 (www.osha.gov, then "Enforcement:, then “Standard Interpretations”).
June 5, 1989
Mr. Dennis P. Johnson
Staff Industrial Hygienist
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
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
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 - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3111.html and this recent guidance: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3695.pdf :
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.
Visit us at: https://www.MSDSonline.com
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 doesn¹t 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.
Environmental Health and Radiation Safety University of Pennsylvania
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,
>Authorized OSHA Trainer
>Laboratory Development Assistant
>Campus Chemical Compliance Director
>Department of Chemistry
>Conway, AR 72032
>Ph: (501) 450-3812
>Fax: (501) 450-3829
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