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|Title: 01/13/1986 - Maintaining MSDSs on a computer data base.|
|Record Type: Interpretation||Standard Number: 1910.1020, 1910.1200|
January 13, 1986
Mr. F. Michael Friedman
Arney, Pagano & Friedman
Attorneys At Law
321-323 West Front Street
Post Office Box 1000
Media, Pennsylvania 19063
Dear Mr. Friedman:
There are two standards in OSHA's General Industry Standards, 29 CFR 1910, that specifically address employee access to MSDS's. They are: 1910.1020, "Access to employee exposure and medical records", and 1910.1200 "Hazard Communication".
Under 1910.1020, the MSDS is considered a record and as per 1910.1020(d)(1)(ii)(B), "need not be retained for any specified period as long as some record of the identity (chemical name if known) of the substance or agent, where it was used, and when it was used is retained for at least thirty (30) years...." Due to the length of time involved, storage of MSDS's as records under 1910.1020 on a computer data base could require special planning on the part of the employer. Also, 1910.1020(e) states that any employer must provide access to a record in a reasonable time, place, and manner, but in no event later than 15 days after the request for access is made. Based on your letter, this requirement should pose no compliance problem for the proposed method of storing MSDS's.
However, under 1910.1200(g)(8), the employer must ensure that the MSDS's are readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area(s). 1910.1200(g)(9) reiterates the above and allows MSDS's to be kept in any form.|
In conclusion, if the employee's work area includes the area where the MSDS's can be obtained, then maintaining MSDS on a computer would be in compliance. If the MSDS's can only be accessed out of the employee's work area(s), than the employer would not be in compliance with 1910.1200(g)(8) or (9).
If you have any further questions, please contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance on (202)523-8036.
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John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Field Operations
November 20, 1985|
Dear Mr. Miles:
We are requesting a formal opinion of whether an employer who maintains the required material safety sheets (M.S.D.S.) on a personal computer disc data base will be in compliance with the provisions of 29 CFR part 1910. The information would be called up by a program and the employer would make available to employees ready access to the computer and necessary assistance in its use during all work shifts. A hard copy print-out could also be provided by printer at any time. If this is sufficient information for you to advise us of whether this would be satisfactory compliance, we would appreciate your opinion. If you need further information please do not hesitate to contact us.
Respectfully yours, ARNEY, PAGANO AND FRIEDMAN
F. Michael Friedman
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The official, public domain, OSHA version of this document is available at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=19366&p_text_version=FALSE