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|Title: 04/21/1999 - Chemical suppliers must ensure downstream flow of hazard information (MSDSs).|
|Record Type: Interpretation||Standard Number: 1910.1200(g)|
April 21, 1999
Mr. Sergio Tejeda
Henry Schein, Inc.
135 Duryea Road
Melville, New York 11747
Dear Mr. Tejeda:
This is in reply to your letter of November 9, 1998, in which you asked about the use of electronic systems for providing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to downstream users of hazardous chemicals. The letter is being provided supplemental to the telephone conversation you had with a member of my staff on November 18, 1998. We apologize for the delay in getting this to you.|
In your letter you asked if it is sufficient for a distributor to provide clients with MSDSs by advertising a toll-free number in catalogs and other mailings. Clients would then call to request MSDSs via facsimile transmission. However, this system requires the user to seek out the hazard information. In order to meet the requirements of the standard, this system will have to be modified.
The Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, allows electronic access as a means of providing hazard information, however, the standard was written to require the "downstream flow" of hazard information. That is to say, hazard information must be supplied by the manufacturer, distributor, importer (hereinafter referred to as the "supplier") to the employer, and, subsequently, to the employee.
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As the supplier of the hazardous chemical, your company must take some positive action to ensure that the downstream users are willing and able to receive the information electronically. This could consist of querying the customer and recording the response. If the customer does not wish to receive the information via a toll-free number, a hard copy of the MSDS would have to be provided.
Also, the supplier must take positive action to ensure that the customer knows how to obtain the hazard information. OSHA would not consider an advertisement in catalogs or other general mail communications adequate for this purpose. However, a specific letter to the customer with detailed information would suffice. Other criteria the supplier must fulfill are:
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Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions regarding 29 CFR 1910.1200, OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact OSHA’s Office of Health Compliance Assistance at 202-693-2190.
Richard E. Fairfax
Directorate of Compliance Programs
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=22732&p_text_version=FALSE