HR Support on Material Safety Data Sheets

Editor's Note: Employers that use hazardous chemicals must have SDSs readily available to employees.

Melissa BoyceOverview: OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard requires employers that use hazardous chemicals in the workplace to have Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each chemical.

SDSs are intended to be used by employees who use the chemicals. Therefore, the HazCom Standard requires an employer to ensure SDSs are easily accessible to employees and to train employees on how to locate the SDSs and how to read them.

The best place to keep SDSs will be dependent on the particular workplace. SDSs may be kept in an electronic format, but the employer should have a back-up system in place in case the power goes out or the electronic SDSs otherwise become inaccessible.

Trends: The entire HazCom Standard was updated to comply with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The revised standard had to be fully implemented by June 1, 2016.

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor

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