Another consideration is the fact that the novel chemical is to be shipped across the country or around the world. The SDS has a section for information on transportation (Section 14) but the OSHA regulation does NOT require that it be completed. On the other hand, the regulations for shipping hazardous materials (dangerous goods) are different from the HazCom regulations. A material can be hazardous under one category and more or less so under another. For smaller quantities there are also ways of receiving partial relief from the shipping regulations, but you have to be qualified to assess this, and even to package the material if it meets the transportation definition of a hazardous material.
Your EHS group or another campus organization should already be involved in the process of shipping hazardous materials. This will provide an opportunity for someone other than the creator of the chemical to review the SDS.
Peter Zavon, CIH
First let me inform those who are not aware of the regulations on this. An SDS must be sent with any research sample no matter how small per 29 CFR 1910.1200, the OSHA HazCom Standard. The pertinent sections are found here:
In theory, for a new and novel compound, the researcher is probably the most knowledgable person to make the hazard classification, provided that they have an excellent grasp of the hazards of related compounds they work with as well as the starting materials and intermediates. While the hazard classification process of HCS 2012 is considerably more involved that the hazard assessment of HCS 1994, the simple fact of the matter is that most of the properties, health effects and whatnot are unknown, and the HCS does not require one to do any testing to determine these. If they are unknown, you simply run through the required format and put Unknown, None etc. as you go along: http://www.ilpi.com/msds/osha/1910_1200_APP_D.html You can throw in any number of precautions that you want for the PPE etc. to be safe. On a practical basis, if a grad student is preparing this document and is not comfortable making the calls on each section, it should be passed up the chain to the PI and if the PI has issues they should pass it up to EHS.
Aside: keep in mind we are talking about new materials with mostly unknown hazards, properties and risks. Lab creations that are simple mixtures of known materials are a whole other mess - see the fun start here, for example: http://www.ilpi.com/msds/osha/1910_1200_APP_A.html#A.0.4
In practice, it might be easiest to take the mindset of an OSHA CSHO (Compliance Safety and Health Officer) who would evaluate an SDS if it was called to their attention. Our web site has a copy of their playbook, CPL 02-02-079 (Hazard Classification Evaluation Procedures), the two most relevant sections of which are Appendices B and H: http://www.ilpi.com/msds/osha/cpl0202079_appb.html as well as http://www.ilpi.com/msds/osha/cpl0202079_apph.html.
Can you be sued for inaccurate information? Absolutely, and I am personally aware of 2 cases in which that's happened. But you can also be sued for accurate information, insufficient information, vague information etc.
Whenever someone asks about liabilities on this listserv I always chuckle to myself. It doesn't matter what the actual liabilities are because you can still get sued regardless, and virtually none of us here are qualified to give legal advice. However, my take is that you must make an honest good faith effort to supply accurate information and document that effort. From an OSHA perspective that usually gets you off the hook, but in the American legal system anything goes; in fact, in rare cases it can actually have the opposite one. Dang, there's that Kobayashi Maru thing again…
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On Dec 11, 2015, at 9:58 AM, James Stubbs <James.Stubbs**At_Symbol_Here**EHS.UTAH.EDU> wrote:
I work for a large research university and we, like many of you, have researchers on our campus that create new and novel chemicals from time to time and then need to ship them to colleagues across the country. My questions deal with the SDS preparation for these new and novel materials: What is the comfort level with a self (researcher)-prepared SDS when we offer these materials for shipments? What is the comfort level with a researcher preparing an SDS which then becomes a safety guidance document for others using the material? What roles does the safety professional play in this process for your company/institution? Are there any liabilities to the institution if the SDS contains inaccurate information?
I have my own opinions but am hoping to tap into the collective wisdom of this group to get a broader perspective.
Many thanks in advance!
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