OSHA Changes Hazard Communication Standard


In 2012, OSHA passed several revisions to its Hazard Communication Standard that you should be aware of, including:

  1. MSDS is now SDS - Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) will now be called Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
  2. Uniformity for Labeling - OSHA has decided to align their requirements with the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling, thus bringing uniformity to the presentation of, and information on, these sheets. Historically, MSDSs have been inconsistent from one chemical manufacturer/distributor to the next. These inconsistencies have made it difficult for customers to read and/or understand the safety guidance.

Employer Responsibilities

ALL of your employees must be trained on the new label elements and SDS format by December 1, 2013.

Employers must ensure that SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace. To comply with the accessibility requirement, we recommend all SDSs be housed together with a central access point in work areas where SDS guidance is needed. For example, employers may keep SDSs in a binder or on computers as long as the employees have immediate access to the information without leaving their work area,and as long as back-ups are available for rapid access to the SDS in the event of a power outage or other emergency. Furthermore, employers may want to designate a person(s) as responsible for obtaining and maintaining SDSs.

If the employer does not have an SDS, the employer or designated person(s) should contact the manufacturer to obtain one.

OSHA’s New 16-Section Format for SDSs

OSHA will start to utilize a 16-section format for all SDS starting in 2013, and all manufacturers must be in compliance by June 1, 2015. The format for SDS will be as follows:

Section 1, Identification

  • Includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.

Section 2, Hazard(s) identification

  • Includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.

Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients

  • Includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.

Section 4, First-aid measures

  • Includes important symptoms/effects, acute and delayed, and required treatment.

Section 5, Fire-fighting measures

  • Lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.

Section 6, Accidental release measures

  • Lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7, Handling and storage

  • Lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection

  • Lists OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9, Physical and chemical properties

  • Lists the chemical’s characteristics.

Section 10, Stability and reactivity

  • Lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Section 11, Toxicological information

  • Includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12, Ecological information

  • Optional under Hazcom 2012.
  • Includes ecotoxicity; persistence and degradability; bioaccumulation potential; mobility in soil.

Section 13, Disposal considerations

  • Optional under Hazcom 2012. o Description of wastes and information on their safe handling and methods of disposal.

Section 14, Transport information

  • Optional under Hazcom 2012. o Hazardous Materials or Dangerous Goods shipping information according to 49CFR, IATA, etc.

Section 15, Regulatory information

  • Optional under Hazcom 2012.
  • Safety, health and environmental regulations specific to the product.

Section 16, Other information

  • Includes the date of preparation or last revision.


Effective Completion Date Requirement(s) Who
December 1, 2013 Train employees on the new label elements and SDS format. Document this training. Employees

For additional information please click on the following link: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/osha-brief.html.

Chemical safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. Please demonstrate your care and concern for all of your employees by training them prior to the December 1, 2013 date.


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