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PARAGRAPH (g) - MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS (g)-1
General - (g)(1)
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Content - (g)(2)
        Hazardous Mixtures Not Tested as a Whole - (g)(2)(i)(C)
        Health Hazards - (g)(2)(iv)
        Exposure Limits - (g)(2)(vi)
        Carcinogen Information - (g)(2)(vii)
        Contact Information for Responsible Party - (g)(2)(xii)
Blank Spaces - (g)(3)
Similar Mixtures - (g)(4)
New Findings - (g)(5)
Initial Shipments and Updated MSDS - (g)(6)
Distributors - (g)(7)
        Distributors vs. Retail Distributors (g)(7)-8
        Obligations of Retail Distributors - (g)(7)(iii)
        Over-the-Counter Wholesale Sales - (g)(7)(iv)
        Sales to Employers without Commercial Accounts - (g)(7)(v)
        Retail Distributor Exemption - (g)(7)(vii)
Maintaining MSDS in Work Area - (g)(8)
Traveling Between Workplaces - (g)(9)
Format - (g)(10)
Providing MSDS Access/Copies - (g)(11)

PARAGRAPH (g) - MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraphs (g)(2), (g)(6), (g)(7), and (g)(8) have been modified. Please refer to the corresponding sections of this document, where the new wording is shown.

MSDS requirements for manufacturers and importers of hazardous paints

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

...[T]he OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (copy enclosed), requires the manufacturer OR importer of a hazardous paint to conduct a hazard determination and to prepare a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the paint and to provide the MSDS [to] employers who use the paint.

letter: DHorn 04-04-95

Purpose of MSDS requirement

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

MSDSs are specified by section 1910.1200(g) of the HCS. The MSDS lists the hazardous ingredients of a product, its physical and chemical characteristics (e.g. flammability, explosive properties), its effect on human health, the chemicals with which it can adversely react, handling precautions, the types of measures that can be used to control exposure, emergency and first aid procedures, and methods to contain a spill. When new regulatory information, such as exposure limits, or new health effects information becomes available, the MSDS must be updated to reflect it.

Employers and employees need the information contained on MSDSs to protect themselves from hazardous chemical exposures and to work safely with chemical products. The result will be a reduction in chemical source illness and injuries in the workplace. Since the HCS became effective, the use and distribution of MSDSs have proven to be an effective and efficient way to ensure that employers and employees can obtain necessary information on the hazards associated with exposure to chemicals in the workplace.

It should also be noted that MSDSs are only required for hazardous chemicals. In reality, MSDSs are prepared and provided for many products that are not covered by the HCS. It is our understanding that this is being done for product liability purposes, not for compliance with any Federal regulation. In fact, MSDSs were prepared and made available by many producers prior to implementation of regulatory requirements. In addition, many customers request MSDSs on all products, whether they are hazardous or not. This practice has also encouraged producers to provide MSDSs for non-hazardous products. While OSHA does not require or encourage this practice, we certainly do not have the authority to prohibit producers from distributing such MSDSs.

letter: JBarcia 01-25-95

see also: TDelay 06-22-92

Performance oriented MSDS requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

For each hazardous chemical in the workplace, [an employer] is required by the HCS (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)) to maintain a copy of the MSDS. [T]he role [of the MSDS requirements is] performance oriented, establishing what information must be included on the document, but not the specific format in which it must be presented. The MSDS contains valuable information on the hazards of a product, particularly regarding safe handling, clean-up, and first aid procedures.

letter: BGoodlatte 09-21-94

MSDS requirements versus consumer information sheet requirements for manufacturers and distributors of copper chromated arsenate (CCA) pressure-treated wood

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

...[C]onsumer information sheet[s are] not required by the HCS. For clarification, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) provides that owners or operators of facilities must submit information in the form of material safety data sheets (MSDSs), as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or emergency and hazardous chemical forms about the hazardous substance at their facilities to the local emergency planning committee, the state emergency response commission, and the local fire department. In turn, this information may be restructured into information/fact sheets for interested community residents.

Further, EPCRA requires facility to government reporting, with annual inventory updates. The statute does not mandate facility to consumer reporting. On a federal level, consumer information sheets cannot substitute for the emergency and hazardous chemical forms, nor can they be used by the manufacturer to substitute for an MSDS under 29 CFR 1910.1200.

letter: MSessa 08-31-94

Standardizing the format of MSDSs: future efforts

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

OSHA published a request for comments and information (RFI) in the Federal Register on May 17, 1990, which addressed issues related to standardizing the format of material safety data sheets (MSDSs). Approximately 600 responses to this request were received by the Agency, and the majority of the respondents supported having a standardized format or order of information. Various reasons for this support were provided by respondents, including making the MSDSs easier to read and use, and facilitating electronic storage and transfer. It is likely that OSHA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to address this issue sometime next year. All interested parties will be given the opportunity to provide written comments on the proposal, and to provide oral comments during informal public hearings.

There is a significant private sector initiative underway to address this issue as well. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is in the process of finalizing a voluntary consensus standard, [ANSI 2400.1] that establishes a recommended order of information for MSDSs. It is expected that this standard will be completed later this year. In the ANSI process, many industry organizations and other interested parties were consulted regarding the content of the standard on MSDSs, and given an opportunity to provide comment and vote on the acceptability of the provisions. Certainly, this standard will be a primary consideration in the development of regulatory alternatives for the OSHA NPRM.

letter: DRitter 08-05-92 Congress

Regulatory burden of the HCS: many MSDSs prepared for nonhazardous products

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

It should also be noted that material safety data sheets (MSDSs) are prepared and provided for many products that are not covered by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). It is our understanding that this is being done for product liability purposes, not for compliance with any Federal regulation. In fact, MSDSs were prepared and made available by many producers prior to implementation of regulatory requirements. In addition, many customers now request MSDSs on all products, whether they are hazardous or not. This practice has also encouraged producers to provide MSDSs for non-hazardous products. While OSHA does not require or encourage this practice, we certainly do not have the authority to prohibit producers from distributing such MSDSs.

In May 1992, the General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report entitled Employers' Experiences in Complying With the Hazard Communication Standard. In that report, employers surveyed indicated that almost 70% of small employers (fewer than 20 employees) reported little difficulty with the MSDS requirements. And over 56% of all employers reported a "great" or very "great" improvement "in the availability of hazard information in the workplace and in management's awareness of workplace hazards." Perhaps most significantly, about 30% of employers reported that they replaced hazardous chemicals used in their workplaces "with less hazardous ones because of information they received on an MSDS". We find these results to be very encouraging and supportive of the HCS.

letter: TDeLay 06-22-92 Congress

see also: JBarcia 01-25-95

Improving utility of MSDSs and future agency activities

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

We recognize that material safety data sheets (MSDSs) can be improved, and will determine what regulatory action is necessary when the industry voluntary consensus standard is completed and reviewed. We are also involved in efforts to internationally harmonize such requirements to eliminate technical barriers to trade, and improve the information available. All of these activities will be factored into our rulemaking.

letter: TDeLay 06-22-92 Congress

HCS and mine safety and health administration (MSHA)

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

Regarding the application of OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) on mining property within MSHA jurisdiction ... This memorandum is to remind you that the requirements of OSHA's HCS to develop and transmit material safety data sheets (MSDSs) to downstream employers cannot be applied to mine operations under MSHA jurisdiction. ... We have informed MSHA that the Program Information Bulletin is now out of date since OSHA expanded the HCS in 1987 to cover all workplaces (within OSHA jurisdiction), and that MSHA itself has proposed a hazard communication rule (Federal Register, November 2, 1990, Vol. 55, No. 213, pages 46400 through 46441) which will, when finalized, be applicable to mining operations under their jurisdiction.

[MSHA has not yet finalized their hazard communication rule. MSDS are developed for any products, such as sand, which are to leave mining property to be introduced into commerce. Other MSHA provisions, such as training requirements, address the elements of their proposed hazard communication rule.]

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to Regional Administrators 03-03-92

General MSDS requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

The material safety data sheet (MSDS) requirements apply to free samples provided by chemical manufacturers and importers since the hazards remain the same regardless of the cost to the employer.

Even though solid metals are covered differently under the labeling requirements, the full MSDSs requirements still pertain.

Chemical manufacturers often receive requests for MSDSs from customers for chemicals or articles which are not covered under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The HCS does not require MSDSs to be provided under those circumstances. If the chemical manufacturer/importer chooses to provide the MSDSs as a customer service, it may be noted on the sheet that the chemical or article has been found by the company not to be covered by the rule. For example:

This product is not considered to be or to contain hazardous chemicals based on evaluations made by our company under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200.

The MSDSs may not indicate that OSHA has made such a finding for the product since the Agency does not make such case-by-case hazard determinations.

The safety and health precautions on the MSDSs must be consistent with the hazards of the chemicals. Some MSDSs include recommendations for protective measures that are for "worst case scenarios," e.g., recommending supplied air suits for products of relatively low toxicity. The HCS requires that accurate information be provided on the MSDSs. This applies as much to "overwarning" on the MSDSs/label as well as the absence of information ("underwarning").

CPL 2-2.38C: A-28 10-22-90

MSDS requirements: OSHA and EPA

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are information bulletins about hazardous chemicals that are required under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Under OSHA's HCS, the MSDSs are prepared by chemical manufacturers and importers for the hazardous chemical products they produce or import, and are subsequently provided to their employees and to other employers purchasing their products.

Subsequent to OSHA's promulgation of these requirements, Congress adopted the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) which mandated the use of OSHA's required MSDSs for emergency planning and community right-to-know. SARA is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result of this Congressional extension of the use of MSDSs, the audience for the information, and the purposes to which it would be put, were greatly expanded.

OSHA published a request for comments and information on May 17, 1990, to solicit public input regarding suggestions for improving the presentation and quality of chemical hazard information transmitted on MSDSs. As indicated in the notice, we will be sharing the information received with EPA. When the information submitted is analyzed, OSHA will determine whether changes need to be made to current regulations regarding MSDSs. Non-regulatory alternatives, such as the development of guidelines for MSDS preparers, will also be examined.

letters: FGrandy 08-17-90, CGrassley 09-11-90

Generic MSDSs and demolition materials

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

The procedures ... meet the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). These procedures include obtaining material safety data sheets (MSDSs) on various types of metals and common alloys, reviewing these MSDSs in training sessions and keeping them at each job site, explaining the hazards of ... fumes and the proper precautions, as well as complying with all other hazard communication requirements. ... the MSDS you obtain will not be specific to the actual material being demolished. Adequate information on the "generic" MSDS should be shared with affected employees during the training sessions. ... the "generic" MSDS are only for training purposes to provide general information to affected employees. They will not contain the substance-specific information that other MSDS required under the HCS and produced by chemical manufacturers will contain, e.g., most importantly, emergency contact information.

letter: RBrooks 01-09-90

MSDS for pharmaceuticals--package inserts not sufficient

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

At the present time material safety data sheets (MSDS) are required for all hazardous chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, where there is the potential for employee exposure. Package inserts, etc. cannot be utilized in lieu of the MSDS since they do not meet the specification requirements of MSDS under the present rule.

[Originally written for the medical industry]

letter: GBaril 12-28-89

Drug products and MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

The material safety data sheet (MSDS) provisions for drugs are being enforced in response to the order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The provision and maintenance of material safety data sheets is an integral part of an employer's hazard communication program. Therefore, lack of MSDSs for covered drug products cannot be considered a de minimis violation, since they do have a direct or immediate relationship to safety and health.

[Originally written for the medical industry]

letter: LBierlein 06-20-89

MSDS for nonhazardous products

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)

The format and appearance of a material safety data sheet may be decided by the preparer. The inclusion of the statement "OSHA opinion [is] that a material safety data sheet is not necessary for non-toxic products" may be misleading. We suggest the following alternative language be considered; "This product is not considered to be or contain hazardous chemicals based on evaluations made by our company under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, reference 29 CFR 1910.1200."

Chemical manufacturers and importers are responsible for hazard determinations and the development of material safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals under the Hazard Communication Standard. Trade associations would not be party to OSHA citations issued to specific manufacturers for violations of the Hazard Communication Standard. Material safety data sheets may be prepared for non-hazardous chemicals, however, care must be taken to ensure that inapplicable generic warnings are not used on such forms.

letter: MNeville 09-17-87

General - (g)(1)

Requirements for product specific vs. generic MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

Question: Does using, in an emergency situation, one MSDS from, for example Sigma/Aldrich's CD ROM, constitute compliance with the OSHA standards [if:]

1. You don't know the manufacturer but only the name of the chemical to which the person is exposed[;]

2. You don't know the manufacturer's name and the chemical name, however, the Sigma Aldrich CD ROM access is the fastest way to get the chemical information to those who need it, until the specific MSDS, chemical and/or manufacturer's name, are obtained[?]

[This is] a situation where the company is not in compliance with the HCS; the employer does not have essential information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The CD ROM alternative...would not meet the HCS intent. The HCS requires that employers have an MSDS for each hazardous chemical which they use [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1))]. Part of the employer's Hazard Communication Program is to ensure that all MSDSs are maintained and that "good faith efforts" are taken to acquire missing MSDSs from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor [(29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1))].

The specific chemical's MSDS itself, not just "MSDS information" must be available to workers. If the MSDSs utilized in your electronic system are specific to each product and contain the same chemical identity as used on the required label of the chemical, so as to allow cross referencing between the two, then this aspect of your system would meet the intent of the standard. If the MSDS provided is not product specific, the intent of the standard would not be met.

letter: JBalsamo 02-01-94

Maintaining all MSDSs on a chemical produced by several manufacturers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

Question: Specific chemicals such as acetone, xylene, etc. do not always come from the same manufacturer and each manufacturer supplies an MSDS for their chemicals. Is it necessary to have in the central repository copies of all MSDSs from each company or could one complete MSDS serve the needs for all acetone, etc. used for routine purposes, emergency situations or both?

Given the performance oriented nature of the standard, an employer must be certain that employees are provided all the necessary information concerning the hazards of chemicals in the workplace. There are a number of concerns with the approach you describe. First, you must ensure that the specific identity on the MSDS can be cross referenced to the corresponding label of the hazardous chemical containers [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i))]. Second, the employer must ensure that employees are informed during the hazard communication training of this practice of using one MSDS as representative of all vendors, otherwise it could lead to confusion [(29 CFR 1910.1200(h)(3)(iv))]. Third, the MSDS you select must have complete and accurate information as required by section (g)(5) of the HCS. And finally, the standard requires that the MSDS contain the name, address and telephone number of the party who prepares or distributes the MSDS [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii))]. The party listed must be able to provide additional information on the hazardous chemicals or clarification of the information on the MSDS, as well as, additional emergency procedures, if necessary, in lieu of the actual manufacturer. A chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor may not wish to and is not required to act as the responsible party for a chemical that they did not produce.

letter: JBalsamo 02-01-94

Requirements of a pharmacy in obtaining MSDSs from drug manufacturers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

Question: If the manufacturer will not or cannot provide a MSDS for a covered drug, must the pharmacy document its attempt to obtain a MSDS?

Yes, the pharmacy is to contact the drug manufacturer, importer, or distributor to request a MSDS. This action should be documented in the form of a letter. Section (g)(1) of the standard states that "the employer shall have a MSDS for each hazardous chemical they use." However, employers are not to be held responsible for inaccurate information on the MSDS which they did not prepare and they have accepted in good faith from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor.

Please bear in mind that the package inserts and the Physician's Desk References cannot be accepted in lieu of MSDSs, as these documents do not meet the specification requirements of MSDSs under the present rule.

letter: CCoe 01-03-94

MSDSs provided by manufacturers and importers, not OSHA

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

You requested that OSHA send you updated material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for the products listed in your letter. The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires manufacturers, importers and distributors to send MSDSs with initial shipments to all downstream users, for any item that would expose employees to hazardous chemicals. OSHA does not provide MSDSs to employers. We suggest that you contact the manufacturer or distributor of the products listed in your letter to request updated MSDSs. If the manufacturer or distributor will not send you an MSDS, you may contact your OSHA area office for enforcement action.

letter: Dr. L 12-22-92

Research institutes and MSDS requirements for in-house use

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) defines "chemical manufacturer" as "an employer with a workplace where chemical(s) are produced for use or distribution." Research institutes which produce or synthesize chemicals must develop material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for the hazardous chemicals that they distribute to other workplaces. If a chemical is produced for in-house study only, an MSDS need not be generated, as long as there is MSDS information for the component chemicals utilized in the synthesis which are readily available on site to exposed employees. The "preparation and delivery of research quantities of materials," ..., is therefore not exempt from the requirements of the HCS, and the work [the Company] does involving these activities is covered under the scope of the standard.

[Originally written for the research industry]

[Originally written about pharmaceutical drugs]

letter: CParker 09-09-91

MSDS obligations in tire recycling

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

The [tire recapping] company produces for sale as scrap reclaimed tire tread rubber (rubber dust) from buffing the tread area of a worn tire to texture the surface for recapping. The suppliers to this company are providing them with articles they did not manufacture - worn or used tires - and therefore are not responsible for providing a material safety data sheet to the tire recapping company. The current compliance directive, CPL 2-2.38C, on page A-29 discusses the applicability of the standard to scrap dealers. It states: "if their (scrap dealers') suppliers are furnishing articles which they did not manufacture, (such as a broken refrigerator), the supplier is not required to provide a label or MSDS."

CPL 2-2.38C states that when a scrap supplier has "the required knowledge of the item's constituents" he is to develop and transmit MSDSs and labels to downstream employers. In this case, the tire recapping company is provided with items or articles (used tires) which are transmitted to them with neither an MSDS nor label. They therefore would not have the required knowledge of the items' constituents from which to produce an MSDS.

However, the tire recapping company is selling a product which it has produced - the rubber dust. Since no testing of chemicals to determine their hazards is specifically required by the HCS, it would then be incumbent upon the company to perform a literature search for any available studies that may have been performed on rubber dust which show a health hazard to be associated with occupational exposures. Absent any such information, the need to develop and transmit an MSDS and label for the rubber dust is negated. When and if the downstream user of the rubber dust requests a data sheet from the supplier, the tire recapper may want to prepare a statement such as is found on page A-28 of the HCS directive to communicate to his customers that an evaluation has been performed on the product in accordance with the HCS and the product is not considered to be a hazardous chemical nor to contain hazardous chemicals.

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to FStrasheim, RA 08-15-91

MSDS requirements for asbestos in asbestos removal operations

29 CFR 1926.59 [1910.1200](g)(1) and 1926.58

...[T]he construction asbestos standard, 1926.58 does not require a MSDS for asbestos. We agree with the argument...that since 1926.58 does not specifically require that a written hazard communication program be developed for the hazards of asbestos exposure during removal operations, the more general requirement of 29 CFR 1926.59(e)[, the HCS,] applies to the situation. While we believe that 1926.59(e) of the HCS applies as set forth above to the hazards of asbestos-exposed employees during asbestos removal, we also acknowledge that a MSDS for "asbestos" cannot be required under 1926.59. It is the responsibility of the chemical manufacturer to develop the MSDS and send it to the downstream employer(s) for their information and use in their hazard communication programs. Obviously, asbestos-removal contractors have no way of obtaining the MSDS for the specific asbestos-containing materials they are removing. Employers may be encouraged, however, to obtain or develop a "generic" MSDS for "asbestos" for use in their overall hazard communication program, but they cannot be required to do so.

memorandum: TShepich to LAnku 12-26-89

Dilution of a chemical

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

The ... (Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)) ... requires a material safety data sheet (MSDS) to be developed for each hazardous chemical produced by a manufacturer. The MSDS developed by the chemical manufacturer should contain hazard information on the chemical for all its expected uses downstream.... you are not required to generate a new MSDS when the product is diluted to its working strength, according to the manufacturer's directions. The MSDS received from the manufacturer is applicable to the diluted mixture.

[Originally written for the hardware industry]

letter: CLindsay 07-31-89

Responsibilities of oil and gas producers to maintain MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

As employers covered by the expanded standard, which took effect for employers on August 24, 1987, oil and gas producers are required to maintain copies of material safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical in the workplace and shall ensure that they are readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area(s). Crude oil and natural gas meet the standard's definition of hazardous chemicals posing physical and health hazards to exposed individuals. Therefore, oil and gas producers are required to have a material safety data sheet for these substances, as well as for all other hazardous chemicals at your constituent's job sites. Under the current rule, a "generic" material safety data sheet may address a group of complex mixtures, ..., which have similar hazards and characteristics because their chemical ingredients are essentially the same, even though the specific composition varies from mixture to mixture.

letter: DBoren 05-03-89 Congress

Accuracy and completeness of MSDS the responsibility of preparer or importer

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

The language used in the HCS requires that only the party preparing or obtaining the MSDS [Material Safety Data Sheet] (i.e. the manufacturer or importer) can be held responsible for its content. Therefore, effective immediately, only the upstream manufacturer or importer will be cited for violations involving MSDS accuracy and completeness. Downstream users will no longer be subject to these citations. Any outstanding, relevant citation(s) which have been issued to downstream users shall be withdrawn.

memorandum: TShepich (DCP) to RAs 09-08-87

MSDS, labels not required for scrapped articles

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

OSHA interprets the HCS as inapplicable to certain manufactured items sold as scrap. Establishments... scrapping worn-out manufactured "articles," such as equipment and office furniture, do not need to develop labels and material safety data sheets under the HCS when such items have not been manufactured by the company scrapping the item and the company in fact, does not have a material safety data sheet for that item.... Employers purchasing these articles will not receive labels or material safety data sheets and, therefore, will not know the actual chemical components or the potential chemical hazards they pose when scrapped. Because there is no requirement that employers analyze items to determine their composition and components, see 48 Federal Register 53334-35, employers purchasing such articles are also not required to acquire knowledge of the item's chemical components or their potential hazards during recycling.

Therefore, OSHA interprets the HCS as not requiring employers to create labels and material safety data sheets when they scrap manufactured articles, such as equipment, piping, radiators and furniture, when the employer scrapping the item did not manufacture it and, in fact, does not possess a material safety data sheet for the item. However, employers must pass on any information they have regarding hazardous ingredients or contaminants they may have added to the article, as would be the case if an employer is scrapping pipes that had contained a hazardous chemical and continues to contain its residue. In addition, "article" manufacturers that sell for scrap those produced items that fail specifications, are considered by OSHA to have the requisite knowledge of the item's constituents and are required to develop and transmit appropriate hazard information for these rejected items to downstream scrap dealers, secondary smelters and other manufacturing purchasers.

letter: EMerrigan 05-23-86

MSDS for metal chips and scrap material

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(1)

Material safety data sheets are required to be supplied to scrap dealers to whom the metal chips and other scrap material are sold. [Scrap producers] can supply photostatic copies of material safety data sheets to their customers. This is essential so that scrap dealers will be able to pass the information along to their customers.

letter: DBurch 04-07-86

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Content - (g)(2)

Guidance for label and MSDS designations for carcinogens is provided under paragraph (f)(1).

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, modifications have been made to paragraph (g)(2). New wording is indicated in quotation marks:

(2) Each material safety data sheet shall be in English "(although the employer may maintain copies in other languages as well)..."

In addition, subparagraph (g)(2)(i)(C)(2) has been modified. Changes in wording are shown in the corresponding section of this document.

MSDS information for metals and alloys

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

Any format for a [Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)] is acceptable, as long as the information conforms to the requirements of paragraph (g) of 29 CFR 1910.1200. OSHA has published a sample MSDS, form number OSHA-174. This is an optional form which may be used to comply with 29 CFR 1910.1200(g).

Information in the MSDS may need to conform to the language contained in other OSHA health standards. For example, depending on the ingredients contained in a metal and/or alloy and it's manner of use, employee protection may be required, including ventilation controls, personal protective equipment, clothing or gloves, or other applicable precautions. This assessment should be made by the manufacturer as it relates to the downstream use of the metal or alloy.

letter: FBrown 01-06-93

OSHA does not specify chemicals requiring MSDS nor MSDS content

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

... OSHA [does not] prepare[s] or dictate[s] the specific statements to be included on material safety data sheets (MSDSs). ... The MSDSs are prepared by chemical manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemical products. They make the determinations as to what chemicals are covered within the context of the standard's requirements, and design the MSDSs appropriately. This performance-oriented approach was sought by manufacturers when the rule was originally promulgated.

letter: TDeLay 06-22-92 Congress

MSDS and label requirements for scrap materials

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

Any material safety data sheets (MSDSs) utilized must be consistent with the guidance set forth by the final standard and interpretations made by the Agency. While OSHA does allow the use of a "generic" data sheet where the evidence supports the fact that a class or family of chemicals presents similar health hazards, any specific information that the chemical manufacturer has with regard to specific hazards must appear on the MSDS and label as appropriate. As pointed out in our compliance Instruction, if the supplier of the scrap added hazardous chemicals to the material, the supplier is responsible for providing a label and MSDS to the scrap dealer that addresses the additional hazard. We note that you have provided general language at the beginning of the data sheets you transmitted to us with your letter that warns that such additional hazardous chemicals "may or may not be present." Again, if the supplier has knowledge of the presence of any specific additional hazardous chemicals, that specific information must be passed to the downstream employer(s); a general warning such as provided on your data sheets is not acceptable.

..., MSDSs developed by trade associations are acceptable for use by employers if the information on them is accurate and complete.

letter: RJohnson 04-04-91

MSDS format and OSHA Forms 20 and 174

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

The OSHA Form 20 has been obsolete since May 1986. Simply following the titles of the blocks to complete the Form 20 will not result in an appropriate sheet, but it could be modified to comply. Any format is acceptable, as long as the required information is included. OSHA has published a sample material safety data sheet (MSDS), form number OSHA-174. This is an optional form which may be used to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

The requirement that the MSDSs be in English is intended to prevent importers of chemicals from transmitting MSDSs written in a foreign language. However, this requirement was not intended to prevent the translation into foreign languages to aid employee understanding.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-29 10-22-90

Addressing spills and emergency procedures in MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

A frequently overlooked portion of the training provisions is that dealing with emergency procedures. If the chemical is very hazardous, more information would be expected to be provided on the material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and, therefore, the training for emergency procedures, including information about the characteristics of the chemical and precautions to be taken would need to be more extensive. Section 1910.1200(h) requires training of employees on (among other things) the measures employees can take to protect themselves from hazards including emergency procedures and an explanation of the information on the MSDSs. Section (g)(2)(viii) of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the MSDSs to address safe handling and use of chemicals which includes cleanup of spills and leaks. Section (g)(2)(x) requires the MSDSs to address emergency and first aid procedures.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-35 10-22-90

OSHA MSDS Form 174: required contents of MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

The OSHA does not review, approve, or certify material safety data sheets (MSDSs). The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is a performance-oriented standard, which gives the chemical manufacturer or importer the responsibility to obtain or develop MSDSs in English that meet the following criteria and contain at least the following information: the specific identity of the hazardous chemical(s) and the common name(s); the physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous chemical; known acute and chronic health effects and related health information; exposure limits; whether the chemical is considered to be a carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) or OSHA; emergency and first-aid party procedures; precautionary measures; and the identification of the party responsible for preparing the sheet. Specific requirements are set forth in the HCS at Section (g) and Appendices A and B.

OSHA MSDS form (OSHA 174) is not a mandatory form, but may be used to comply with the HCS as long as the MSDS contains at least the above cited information. All spaces on the MSDS must be completed so the reader will know that an item has not been inadvertently omitted.

[Originally written about consumer product manufacturing]

letter: WAllshouse 10-04-90

MSDS requirements for solid metal objects

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

Your company manufactures stump removal equipment. Each stump router cutter head has carbide tips on the cutter teeth. Your customers sharpen the cutter teeth by grinding the carbide tips.

Since the cutter teeth are solid metal, the required label may be transmitted to your customers at the time of initial shipment and need not be included with subsequent shipment to the same employer unless the information on the label changes. The label may be transmitted with the initial shipment itself, or with appropriate material safety data sheets that are to be provided prior to or at the time of the first shipment. You may also affix the warning label on every cutter head guard of the machine. Such action may assist your customers in complying with the Hazard Communication Standard.

Material safety data sheets [MSDS] are required for each hazardous chemical which could potentially present a physical or health hazard during the normal use of the product. Thus, a material safety data sheet would be necessary for the carbide tips. For the general metal components, however, a material safety data sheet would only be necessary if routine use or maintenance would likely involve exposure to metallic dust or fumes. Listing the general metal components of steel products is acceptable if a material safety data sheet is necessary.

letter: KDoty 10-26-87

MSDS for waste oils

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

You ask whether or not material safety data sheets (MSDS) are required for [your waste oil] finished fuel oil product and ask for guidance on their completion.

MSDS are required when products containing hazardous chemicals are sold to employers .... and [their] use presents a potential for employees to be exposed to a health or physical hazard.

The Hazard Determination provisions of the HCS (reference 29 CFR 1910.1200(d) are used in conjunction with the appendices found at the end of the standard to evaluate the hazards of chemicals and chemical mixtures. Manufacturers may either test mixtures as a whole or report the effects of each of the hazardous components in a mixture. Each MSDS must accurately and thoroughly reflect the product's characteristics. Generic MSDS are permitted as long as this is accomplished.

letter: PCarstens 06-17-86

MSDS preparation under trade secret provisions

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)

You requested guidance on how to prepare a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) under the trade secret provisions of the standard.

1. Is it acceptable to state "proprietary component A" or must you state "proprietary sulfur compound"?

It would be acceptable to refer to the trade secret chemical either as "Component A" or as "proprietary sulfur compound."

2. How does one state a Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for a proprietary compound? Can this be omitted or can several TLV's be stated if all are appropriate?

If there is an OSHA permissible exposure limit and a TLV for the proprietary component A, then that value would need to be reflected on the MSDS. If there is a PEL and TLV for the proprietary component A it cannot be withheld from the MSDS.

3. Can volume percentages be omitted for proprietary components?

The standard does not require the release of any volume percentages of any chemicals on the MSDS.

4. Under Health Hazard is it acceptable to refer to components as "Component A" or as "one component"? Can overexposure symptoms be discussed without divulging chemical families?

It would be acceptable to reference the health hazards associated with one chemical to that particular constituent; [Ex. Health Hazards of Component A are...] The health hazard information must include the signs and symptoms of exposure.

letter: RRoberson 12-10-85

Maintaining all MSDSs on a chemical produced by several manufacturers.

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i)

Question: Specific chemicals such as acetone, xylene, etc. do not always come from the same manufacturer and each manufacturer supplies an MSDS for their chemicals. Is it necessary to have in the central repository copies of all MSDSs from each company or could one complete MSDS serve the needs for all acetone, etc. used for routine purposes, emergency situations or both?

Given the performance oriented nature of the standard, an employer must be certain that employees are provided all the necessary information concerning the hazards of chemicals in the workplace. There are a number of concerns with the approach you describe. First, you must ensure that the specific identity on the MSDS can be cross referenced to the corresponding label of the hazardous chemical containers [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i))]. Second, the employer must ensure that employees are informed during the hazard communication training of this practice of using one MSDS as representative of all vendors, otherwise it could lead to confusion [(29 CFR 1910.1200(h)(3)(iv))]. Third, the MSDS you select must have complete and accurate information as required by section (g)(5) of the HCS. And finally, the standard requires that the MSDS contain the name, address and telephone number of the party who prepares or distributes the MSDS [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii))]. The party listed must be able to provide additional information on the hazardous chemicals or clarification of the information on the MSDS, as well as, additional emergency procedures, if necessary, in lieu of the actual manufacturer. A chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor may not wish to and is not required to act as the responsible party for a chemical that they did not produce.

letter: JBalsamo 02-01-94

Hazardous Mixtures Not Tested as a Whole - (g)(2)(i)(C)

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraph (g)(2)(i)(C)(2) has been modified. The new wording is shown in quotation marks:

(2) The chemical and common names of all ingredients determined to be health hazards comprising less than 1% (0.1% for carcinogens) if there is evidence that the ingredient(s) could be released in concentrations exceeding on OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) or ACGIH Threshold Limit Value, or could present a health "risk" to employees.

Determination of carcinogenicity of a mixture containing attapulgite clay

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i)(C)

[Scenario:] The...MSDS [for a product containing attapulgite clay] specifies that attapulgite clay contains 1-10% crystalline silica. The Attapulgite clay mixture has been "tested as a whole" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and classified as a Group 3 substance.

An IARC Group 3 classification indicates that insufficient evidence is available to classify an agent as to its carcinogenicity (i.e., interpretations of human and animal data are restricted and limited, respectively).

The IARC classifies crystalline silica as a probable human carcinogen (Group 2A).

In addition to IARC classifications, OSHA requires a health hazard to be listed on the MSDS whenever one positive study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles indicates a hazardous effect.

[Question:] [Given the above information, is it] necessary to include a carcinogenic statement or an inference of a carcinogenic hazard on the MSDS for the product containing Attapulgite?

[The importer or manufacturer of this product] would be required to list crystalline silica as a hazardous component, with the statement that crystalline silica is a probable human carcinogen, for the following reasons:

1. Appendix B of 29 CFR 1910.1200 establishes the criteria in making hazard determinations of products that meet the requirements of this standard. The appendix states that: "Hazard evaluation is a process which relies heavily on the professional judgement of the evaluator, particularly in the area of chronic hazards. The performance-orientation of the hazard determination does not diminish the duty of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer to conduct a thorough evaluation, examining all relevant data and producing a scientifically defensible evaluation. The appendix also requires that, "all available scientific data on carcinogenicity must be evaluated in accordance with this appendix and the requirements of the rule."

Given that Attapulgite has been tested as a whole, and the result is inconclusive, the statistically significant and scientifically valid evidence supporting carcinogenicity for crystalline silica cannot be discounted and must be presented on the MSDS. We believe that this position is consistent with section 1910.1200(d)(5)(i) of the standard that addresses mixtures tested as a whole.

2. The April 18, 1989 version of the MSDS for Attapulgite clay states that the percent composition for crystalline silica is between 1% and 10%. There is no indication that the composition of the Attapulgite clay has changed. Therefore, since...[the] product [identified on the MSDS] contains roughly one third Attapulgite, it clearly contains greater than 0.1% crystalline silica.

3. Further, no evidence is presented to indicate that crystalline silica is inextricably bound in Attapulgite. Therefore, under normal conditions of use or during foreseeable emergencies crystalline silica [should] be indicated as a hazardous ingredient, since it potentially results in employee exposure.

letter: DSperanza 06-16-94

MSDS requirements for trace quantities of ethylene oxide

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i)(C) and 29 CFR 1910.1047(j)

Question: If a raw material [Material Safety Data Sheet] MSDS mentions the presence of a carcinogen such as ethylene oxide in "trace amounts" and we place a small amount in one of our products we should not have to refer to the trace of a trace on our MSDS and labels. Is my interpretation correct?

Labeling and MSDS requirements for Ethylene Oxide are specified in the Ethylene Oxide [EtO] Standard (29 CFR 1910.1047 (j)). In terms of container labeling section 1910.1047 (j)(1)(ii) states that:

The employer shall ensure that precautionary labels are affixed to all containers of EtO whose contents are capable of causing employee exposure at or above the action level or whose contents may reasonably be foreseen to cause employee exposure above the excursion limit, and that the labels remain affixed when the containers of EtO leave the workplace.

MSDS requirements in the Ethylene Oxide Standard are identical to those in the [Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)] section 1910.1200 (g). If a hazardous chemical, such as Ethylene Oxide, is present in the mixture in reportable quantities (i.e., 0.1% for carcinogens, and 1% for other health hazards), it must be reported unless the mixture has been tested as a whole or unless the material is bound in such a way that employees cannot be exposed. If there is no exposure (and the standard defines exposure as including potential as well as measurable exposure by any route of entry), either under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency, then the chemical is not covered by the standard. (See Paragraph (b)(2) of 29 CFR 1910.1200.) Further, information must also be included on a MSDS for ingredients of a mixture present in concentrations of less than 1% (or 0.1% for carcinogens) when the hazardous substance may be released in a concentration which exceeds a PEL [Permissible Exposure Limit] or TLV [Threshold Limit Value] or may present a health risk to exposed employees. An example of the latter may be Toluene Diisocyanate because it is a sensitizer in very small concentrations, thereby presenting a health risk that must be noted on the MSDS.

letter: MStrong 09-27-93

MSDSs for "gasoline" or "antifreeze" from different vendors with different additives

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i)(C)

Your question requests interpretation of the material safety data sheet (MSDS) requirements for products purchased in bulk quantities. Your letter described the following scenario. Bulk quantities of antifreeze, gasoline, hydraulic fluid, kerosene, engine oils, lubricants, and propane are delivered to your manufacturing site, transferred from the vendor's truck into large on-site storage tanks. These generic substances may necessitate mixing of similar products, such as gasoline, from different vendors.

According to our phone conversation of December 3, there was agreement that the MSDS from the most current vendor was to be used. However, if a previous vendor has ethylene dibromide as an additive and the most current vendor does not, which is the appropriate MSDS? In this situation, a facility would be required to maintain both MSDSs. Gasolines, oils, lubricants, kerosene, antifreeze may have the same base stock, but depending on user specifications, other substances with hazardous properties may be added. For example, ethylene dibromide is used as an antiknock compound in gasoline. Ethylene dibromide is an irritant and is injurious to the skin.

Although gasoline has been used as the example, the same logic applies to antifreeze with different rust prohibitors, and other products containing hazardous chemicals. Even where a vendor that subsequently delivers gasoline without ethylene dibromide which dilutes the one that contains ethylene dibromide, employees may have been exposed to the gasoline with ethylene dibromide and thus the MSDS for that product must be maintained. More importantly, exposure calculations are not permitted in determining whether a hazard be identified. An employer may not exclude hazards based on presumed levels of exposure (i.e., omitting a central nervous system hazard warning because, in the employer's estimate, presumed exposures will not be high enough to cause the effect). The hazard is the intrinsic property of the chemical. Types of exposure situations should be addressed in [your company's] training programs.

letter: HKerschner 04-15-93

MSDS for hazardous chemicals in a mixture

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i)(C)

If a hazardous chemical is present in the mixture in reportable quantities (i.e., 0.1 percent for carcinogens, and 1 percent for other health hazards), it must be reported unless the mixture has been tested as a whole or unless the material is bound in such a way that employees cannot be exposed. If there really is no exposure (and the standard defines exposure as including potential as well as measurable exposure by any route of entry), either under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency, then the chemical is not covered by the standard. (See paragraph (b)(2).) In the case of mixtures that are liquid, this provision has to be considered very carefully. For example, if silica is present in a wet mixture it is possible that, if the mixture dries upon application, there is a potential for the silica to become airborne, and thus a potential for exposure. The presence of silica must be indicated on the material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for the liquid mixture in this situation.

For mixtures, if the employer is assuming the mixture has the same hazards as its hazardous components (i.e., no test data on the mixture as a whole), the data sheets for the components will satisfy the requirements of the standard for a data sheet for the mixture. These MSDSs must be physically attached to one another and identified in a manner where they can be cross-referenced with the label. This approach is acceptable provided the MSDSs includes the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), Threshold Limit Value (TLV), and other exposure limits for each ingredient that has been determined to be a health hazard.

Information must also be included on the MSDSs for ingredients of a mixture present in concentrations of less than 1% (or 0.1% for carcinogens) when the hazardous substance may be released in a concentration which exceeds a PEL or TLV or may present a health risk to exposed employees. An example of the latter may be TDI because it is a sensitizer in very small concentrations, thereby presenting a health risk that must be noted on the MSDSs.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-29&30 10-22-90

Hazard warning for decomposition products released during normal operations

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i)(C)

Specifically, decomposition products released during normal operations, such as hot wire cutting of plastic, must be reported on the material safety data sheet if they pose a health hazards and:

1. They are present in concentrations of 1 percent or greater (by weight or volume), or

2. They are carcinogens and are present in concentrations [of] 0.1 percent [or greater] (by weight or volume), or

3. They are present in concentrations of less than those given in Subparagraphs 1 and 2 above; but, nevertheless, present a health hazard to employees at that lower level of concentration, or

4. They are present in concentrations of less than those given in the Subparagraphs 1 and 2 above, but on release could exceed an OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) or American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV).

Decomposition products of chemicals exposed to a fire, where exposure to fire is not a normal use of the product, are not covered by the standard and do not have to be listed on the material safety data sheet.

memorandum: TShepich (DCP) to LAnku, RA 02-17-89

Material safety data sheets (MSDS) for mixtures

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i)(C)

Question: Must Safety Data Sheets identify all products and percentages in mixtures?

The information required under 29 CFR 1910.1200(g) must be given only for the hazardous chemicals present within a product mixture, unless they are present in concentrations of less than 1.0 percent, and less than 0.1 percent for carcinogens. The standard does not require the listing of percentages of chemicals in mixtures. In the case of trade secrets or when specific information is unavailable, these facts must be explained on the MSDS; blanks are not permitted.

letter: JWooldridge 09-25-84

Health Hazards - (g)(2)(iv)

Sensitizer information on the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(iv)

A material safety data sheet (MSDS) must list the fact that the chemical is a sensitizer, along with other required information, such as the chemical's identity, hazardous properties, chemical and physical characteristics, and other information as required under section 1910.1200(g).

[Originally written for the chemical manufacturing industry]

[Originally written about allergies]

letter: JWillman 07-17-89

Conveying irritant information on the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(iv)

It appears that the chemical manufacturer of the [product] has performed a hazard determination and has prepared the material safety data sheet ... . The chemical manufacturer has indicated that [the product] can be both an eye and skin irritant. As an employer you are required to make the material safety data sheet available to your employees who are exposed to the [product], as well as to train them regarding the potential hazards.

[Originally written about cement]

letter: EWoodall 06-23-89

MSDS must report all hazards; label warnings require professional judgement

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(iv)

You asked whether a material safety data sheet (MSDS) and/or label for your antiknock compound should reflect the chronic hazards of EDB or EDC when the acute hazard of tetraethyl lead is so severe. The MSDS for a compound must reflect all valid evidence concerning both the acute and chronic hazards of the constituents. Your company is free to make whatever statements seem appropriate regarding the relative hazards based upon the composition, but the evidence must be reported. That is the essence of a "right-to-know" standard.

On the label, the standard requires "appropriate hazard warnings." There is obviously a need for professional judgment to determine what is "appropriate" in each situation. However, in areas where a judgment must be made, it would be prudent to err on the side of disclosure. This approach is consistent with the intent of the standard. Given the high percentage of both EDB and EDC present in your compound, my personal opinion is that the chronic hazards should certainly be on the label as well as on the MSDS.

letter: TAllen 09-04-85

Exposure Limits - (g)(2)(vi)

MSDS requirements for products containing methylene chloride

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(vi)

Your letter inquired if the exposure levels for Methylene Chloride, provided in your [Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)] for "Speed Enamel 0387 Gloss Black," were listed correctly. The [Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)] states, in 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(vi), that an MSDS must contain "the OSHA permissible exposure limit, ACGIH [American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists] threshold limit value, and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer or employer preparing the material safety data sheet, where available."

This requirement of the standard is reiterated in an appendix to the instruction to OSHA's compliance officers, CPL 2-2.38C, Appendix D, entitled "Guide for Reviewing MSDS Completeness." The Guide states:

"4. Does each MSDS contain at least the: ...

(j) OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL)? The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV)? Other exposure limit(s) (including ceiling and other short term limits)? "

Some of the specific standards and guidelines that the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the MSDS are obligated to present, where applicable, include: those values listed in OSHA's Air Contaminants Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000) or substance specific standards such as Lead (1910.1025), Formaldehyde (1910.1048), Asbestos (1910.1001), and Ethylene Oxide (1910.1047), etc., the ACGIH's TLVs, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Levels, and other exposure levels such as the Dupont TLV listed on your sheet.

Typically, exposure levels are based on different averaging times, for example they could be expressed as an 8 hour Time Weighted Average (8 hr-TWA), a 15 minute Time Weighted Average Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) and/or a Ceiling concentration (the concentration not to be exceeded during any part of the working exposure). This is due to the fact that exposure is defined as a function of time and concentration. The current OSHA PEL for Methylene Chloride includes three values: 500 parts per million (ppm) 8 hr-TWA, 1000 ppm ceiling, and 2000 ppm peak for 5 minutes in any 2 hours. Consequently, the latter two values (1000 and 2000 ppm) must be included on your sample MSDS.

letter: HKim 09-30-93

Other, less protective exposure limits

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(vi)

It is the intent of the standard that employees and manufacturing users have a fundamental right to know the existing exposure limits of the substances with which they work. OSHA therefore encourages chemical manufacturers and importers to disclose all known exposure limits on the material safety data sheets.

From a compliance standpoint the material safety data sheet must contain the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL), and any more protective exposure limit, if one or more exists. Failure to include a less protective exposure limit, other than the OSHA PEL, will be considered a de minimis violation and will not result in the issuance of a citation.

letter: PWillard 08-18-86

Carcinogen Information - (g)(2)(vii)

IARC classifications and MSDS/label requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(vii)

All IARC [International Agency for Research on Cancer] listed chemicals in Groups 1 and 2A must include appropriate entries on both the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and on the label. Group 2B chemicals need be noted only on the MSDSs.

Individual monographs have been published subsequent to Supplement 7. For purposes of compliance with the MSDSs and labeling requirements, the IARC monograph's summary evaluation for the chemical can generally be relied upon but it may be necessary to review the actual evaluations. In some cases, a group of compounds may be listed in the summary as carcinogenic but closer examination of the appropriate monograph will reveal that IARC had data to support the carcinogenicity of only certain compounds. Those compounds are the only ones covered by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). IARC also evaluates specific industrial processes or occupations for evidence of increased carcinogenicity. Findings that an occupation is at increased risk of carcinogenicity, without identification of specific causative agents, do not affect label or MSDSs requirements.

In addition, the existence of one valid, positive study indicating carcinogenic potential in either animals or humans is sufficient basis for a notation on the MSDSs. Further, if such studies include positive human evidence, then the label must contain carcinogen hazard warnings.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-26 10-22-90

MSDS notations for negative findings regarding carcinogenicity

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(vii)

The standard specifies the minimum amount of information that is required on the material safety data sheet, such as physical and chemical characteristics. This type of information must always appear on the material safety data sheet. However, with carcinogens the standard requires that the material safety data sheet must state "whether" a chemical is a carcinogen, and not "whether or not" it is a carcinogen. Only when the condition is affirmative must this indication appear. A section for carcinogenicity would not even have to appear on a material safety data sheet if a chemical was not a carcinogen. However, if a space for carcinogenicity does appear on the material safety data sheet being used, then that area has to be addressed and no blank spaces are permitted; see 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(3). If a chemical is not a carcinogen then phrases such as "no information found" or "not applicable" would have to be used in the space provided for carcinogenicity.

letter: GSchoolfield 05-21-86

Carcinogen information on the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(vii)

Chemical manufacturers and importers must obtain or develop a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. One of the areas which must be addressed on the MSDS is whether the hazardous chemical is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen, or is listed in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Annual Report on Carcinogens, or has been found to be a potential carcinogen in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs.

[Originally written for the textile industry]

letter: PTyson

MSDS information for metals and alloys

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(ix)

Any format for a [Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)] is acceptable, as long as the information conforms to the requirements of paragraph (g) of 29 CFR 1910.1200. OSHA has published a sample MSDS, form number OSHA-174. This is an optional form which may be used to comply with 29 CFR 1910.1200(g).

Information in the MSDS may need to conform to the language contained in other OSHA health standards. For example, depending on the ingredients contained in a metal and/or alloy and it's manner of use, employee protection may be required, including ventilation controls, personal protective equipment, clothing or gloves, or other applicable precautions. This assessment should be made by the manufacturer as it relates to the downstream use of the metal or alloy.

letter: FBrown 01-06-93

Contact Information for Responsible Party - (g)(2)(xii)

Manufacturer's responsibility for maintaining emergency numbers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

Question: Assuming [MSDSs] are to be used in helping the consumer in case of an emergency[,] [w]hat happens after the retailer's regular business hours or when the manufacturer's facility is closed on the weekend[?]

It is the manufacturer and not the retailer that is responsible for maintaining an emergency number [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii))]. The emergency number is used when additional product information is required during a hazardous chemical emergency. Hours of emergency line operation must be decided individually by each chemical manufacturer.

letter: JDuncan 09-28-94

Maintaining all MSDSs on a chemical produced by several manufacturers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

Question: Specific chemicals such as acetone, xylene, etc. do not always come from the same manufacturer and each manufacturer supplies an MSDS for their chemicals. Is it necessary to have in the central repository copies of all MSDSs from each company or could one complete MSDS serve the needs for all acetone, etc. used for routine purposes, emergency situations or both?

Given the performance oriented nature of the standard, an employer must be certain that employees are provided all the necessary information concerning the hazards of chemicals in the workplace. There are a number of concerns with the approach you describe. First, you must ensure that the specific identity on the MSDS can be cross referenced to the corresponding label of the hazardous chemical containers [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i))]. Second, the employer must ensure that employees are informed during the hazard communication training of this practice of using one MSDS as representative of all vendors, otherwise it could lead to confusion [(29 CFR 1910.1200(h)(3)(iv))]. Third, the MSDS you select must have complete and accurate information as required by section (g)(5) of the HCS. And finally, the standard requires that the MSDS contain the name, address and telephone number of the party who prepares or distributes the MSDS [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii))]. The party listed must be able to provide additional information on the hazardous chemicals or clarification of the information on the MSDS, as well as, additional emergency procedures, if necessary, in lieu of the actual manufacturer. A chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor may not wish to and is not required to act as the responsible party for a chemical that they did not produce.

letter: JBalsamo 02-01-94

see also: LBirnbaum 09-13-93; JKleinschmidt 07-28-89

Identification of responsible parties on the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

You specifically inquired "whose name, address, and telephone number must appear on the MSDS [Materia Safety Data Sheet]?" Your question pertains to the HCS (29 CFR 1910.1200) paragraph (g)(2)(xii) which states:

"The name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, employer, or other responsible party preparing or distributing the material safety data sheet, who can provide additional information on the hazardous chemical and appropriate emergency procedures, if necessary."

Responsible parties must be able to supply all of the information required by the MSDS, including the appropriate emergency information. Generally, this will be the manufacturer or importer. If the chemical manufacturer has consented to being designated the responsible party and they are capable of providing the necessary information then the requirement of the standard has been met.

letter: LBirnbaum 09-13-93

see also: JBalsamo 02-01-94; JKleinschmidt 07-28-89

Telephone accessibility of chemical manufacturer

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

The material safety data sheets (MSDSs) must include a telephone number for emergency information. There is no requirement that the responsible party staff a telephone line with personnel who can respond to an emergency 24 hours a day. The hours of emergency line operation are determined by the chemical manufacturer and should be set after considering the thoroughness of the MSDSs, the hazards of the chemicals, the frequency of use and immediacy of information needs, and the availability of information through alternative sources. One effective alternative used by some suppliers is to have a telephone answering machine that is on when the facility is closed. The message refers callers to the appropriate official in the event of an emergency.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-31 10-22-90

see also: LSioris 10-25-86

Responsible party when MSDS is changed

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

It is the responsibility of the chemical manufacturer or importer to evaluate and compile all the hazard information known about the chemicals he produces. It is also his responsibility to transmit and update that information on material safety data sheets (MSDSs) sent to downstream users. Any party who changes a chemical's MSDS or label then becomes the responsible party for the change. Responsible parties must be able to supply all the information required by the MSDS, including appropriate emergency information as discussed above.

[Originally written for a state run program]

letter: LSioris 06-04-90

Responsible party to be noted on the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

The situation as described ..., where the contact telephone number on the material safety data sheet (MSDS) is a party other than the product manufacturer and only able to provide "basic information" is not within the intent of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The standard requires that the MSDS contain the name, address and telephone number of the party who prepares or distributes the MSDS. Generally, this will be the manufacturer or importer. If the preparer or distributor of the sheet is a party other than the manufacturer or importer, i.e., an employer or other responsible party, their name, address and telephone number may be listed on the MSDS. The HCS does allow a responsible party to be named on the MSDS. However, in all cases, the party listed must be able to provide additional information on the hazardous chemicals, or clarification of the information on the MSDS, as well as, additional emergency procedures, if necessary, in lieu of the manufacturer.

letter: JKleinschmidt 07-28-89

see also: JBalsamo 02-01-94; LBirnbaum 09-13-93

Responsible party named on label and MSDS--distributors

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

According to the HCS, the "responsible party" means someone who can provide additional information on the hazardous chemical and appropriate emergency procedures, if necessary. This definition applies to chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors. If your client wishes to list the name, address, and emergency telephone number of the actual manufacturer, the designation of "manufacturer" rather than "responsible party" must be used for clarity.

The standard specifically requires the name and address of the chemical manufacturer, importer or other responsible party to be identified on the label. Replacing this information with an "A", "B", or "C" is not acceptable on containers leaving the workplace. The label information, in some situations, provides the only identifying and hazard information to employees handling the chemical. Also, employers that do not receive the MSDS with the initial shipment must request one from the chemical manufacturer or distributor. The label again provides the only identifying information.

In all cases, the "responsible party" named on the MSDS and the label is held responsible for the accuracy of the information and potentially subject to citation if a violation of the HCS was determined to exist. If the distributor makes changes to the required information on the labels and the MSDSs, the distributor then assumes responsibility.

letter: PMartino 07-06-89

Emergency information lines, hours of operation

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii)

Question: Do emergency information lines have to be operated 24 hours per day, or for some other specified time period?

The HCS is primarily written in performance language. Paragraph (g)(2)(xii) of 29 CFR 1910.1200 does not specify hours of operation for emergency information lines.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's policy is to resist providing specifications that would erode the intended flexibility of performance standards. The Agency therefore, only provides guidelines to assist employers in fulfilling their responsibilities under the standard.

Chemical manufacturers should consider the following criteria in deciding the hours of operation of their emergency telephone line:

1. The completeness of the material safety data sheet for products.

2. The toxicity/physical hazards of chemicals.

3. The frequency the chemicals will be used and the immediacy of information needs based on all the above.

4. Availability of information through other sources.

If for example a manufacturer feels that their material safety data sheets are comprehensive and the products present little risk then the emergency number need only be open during normal work hours.

In summary, hours of emergency line operation must be decided individually be each chemical manufacturer.

letter: LSioris 10-25-86

see also: CPL 2-2.38C: A31 10-22-90

Blank Spaces - (g)(3)

No blank spaces permitted on the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(3)

A statement that the chemical is not a carcinogen is not required nor must the material safety data sheet (MSDS) format include a space for such a statement. However, if the format used provides a space for a carcinogen entry, one must be made since no blank spaces may be present on the MSDSs.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-30 10-22-90

Format of the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(3)

The standard requires that all blocks on a form be completed. Because the standard is performance-oriented, however, employers are free to develop material safety data sheets (MSDSs) in any format they wish (as long as it contains the required information). Computer-generated MSDSs do not have to include fields which do not apply to the chemicals for which it is being used.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-31 10-22-90

Blank spaces: blocks may be omitted where no information is available

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(3)

Paragraph (g)(3) of the standard requires that chemical manufacturers, importers and employers preparing a MSDS [Material Safety Data Sheet] include explanatory statements in blank sections. Accordingly, preparers must mark blank sections with any words that convey the idea that the information was not applicable or not available.

The duty imposed under paragraph (g)(3) of the HCS has raised the question of whether a preparer can simply exclude a block from the MSDS rather than making an explanatory note?

Based on an interpretive reading of the standard, blocks or sections may be omitted in their entirety if no information is available or non-existent.

memorandum: TShepich (DCP) to RAs 10-09-87

Similar Mixtures - (g)(4)

Generic MSDS for fertilizers of varying composition

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(4)

Your question addresses the suitability of a generic material safety data sheet (MSDS). As you are probably aware, the requirements of the MSDS are found in paragraph (g) of 29 CFR 1910.1200. MSDSs must be developed for hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, and must list the hazardous chemicals that are found in a product in quantities of 1% or greater, or 0.1% or greater if the chemical is a carcinogen. The MSDS does not have to list the amount that the hazardous chemical occurs in the product.

Therefore, a single MSDS can be developed for the various combinations of K, P and N in your fertilizer, as long as the hazards of the various fertilizer mixtures are the same. This "generic" MSDS must meet all of the minimum requirements found in 29 CFR 1910.1200(g), including the name, address and telephone number of the responsible party preparing or distributing the MSDS who can provide additional information.

letter: JKimmel 05-07-93

MSDS requirements for complex mixtures with similar hazards

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(4)

Where the evidence can support the fact that a class or family of chemicals presents similar health hazards, it would be appropriate to report those findings on the material safety data sheet (MSDS) with respect to the entire class or family. Thus, a "generic" MSDS may address a group of complex mixtures, such as crude oil or natural gas, which have similar hazards and characteristics because their chemical ingredients are essentially the same even though the specific composition varies in each mixture.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-31 10-22-90

New Findings - (g)(5)

Maintaining all MSDSs on a chemical produced by several manufacturers.

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

Question: Specific chemicals such as acetone, xylene, etc. do not always come from the same manufacturer and each manufacturer supplies an MSDS for their chemicals. Is it necessary to have in the central repository copies of all MSDSs from each company or could one complete MSDS serve the needs for all acetone, etc. used for routine purposes, emergency situations or both?

Given the performance oriented nature of the standard, an employer must be certain that employees are provided all the necessary information concerning the hazards of chemicals in the workplace. There are a number of concerns with the approach you describe. First, you must ensure that the specific identity on the MSDS can be cross referenced to the corresponding label of the hazardous chemical containers [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(i))]. Second, the employer must ensure that employees are informed during the hazard communication training of this practice of using one MSDS as representative of all vendors, otherwise it could lead to confusion [(29 CFR 1910.1200(h)(3)(iv))]. Third, the MSDS you select must have complete and accurate information as required by section (g)(5) of the HCS. And finally, the standard requires that the MSDS contain the name, address and telephone number of the party who prepares or distributes the MSDS [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii))]. The party listed must be able to provide additional information on the hazardous chemicals or clarification of the information on the MSDS, as well as, additional emergency procedures, if necessary, in lieu of the actual manufacturer. A chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor may not wish to and is not required to act as the responsible party for a chemical that they did not produce.

letter: JBalsamo 02-01-94

Services to provide MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

You wanted to know if it was acceptable to copy [material safety] data sheets [MSDS] from various manufacturers, reduce them in size, and place them in a notebook to be marketed to dentists.

Under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, chemical manufacturers and importers are responsible for developing an MSDS and label for each hazardous chemical they produce and for transmitting a copy of the data sheet to the downstream employer or distributor with the initial shipment of the product.

Chemical manufacturers and importers must also update their data sheets whenever they become aware of "new or significant information" which is required to be reported per the HCS's hazard determination section (paragraph (d)) and the MSDS section (paragraph (g)) requirements. Data sheets and labels must be updated within three month's time and the new information must be transmitted with the next shipment of the chemical product. Downstream data sheet recipients are therefore automatically sent a new data sheet from their supplier with the new or next shipment. Relying on data sheets from a service like the one you proposed in lieu of utilizing the MSDSs provided automatically from the manufacturer may result in the utilizing employer being in non-compliance with the OSHA requirements if the newly-updated sheets were not readily accessible to employees at his or her workplace.

You also asked if there would "be a need to obtain consent from these manufacturers to reproduce their respective MSDSs?" In order to answer this question, you would need to contact the individual manufacturers or importers. Reproductions and sale of MSDS by vendors are not addressed by the HCS.

letter: AHaile 04-06-92

see also: MMiller 02-17-94

Responsibility of contract manufacturers of drugs to develop MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

The issue you raised concerns the development of [Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)] for unique chemotherapeutic agents and biologicals which are prepared for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under contract by a variety of chemical manufacturers. You questioned which party (NCI or the contract manufacturer) was responsible for developing the MSDS for these drugs. The chemical manufacturer is responsible for the development of the MSDS since he has the information on any hazardous ingredients contained in the product and, as pointed out in your letter, has employees (who manufacture the drug) who are the first to come in contact with the drug entity and have a right to the MSDS information. However, whoever puts their name on the MSDS as the responsible party retains the responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the MSDS.

We would like to clarify that biological hazards are not covered under the requirements of the [Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)]. For a discussion on this point, see page 29841 of the August 8, 1988, Federal Register Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the HCS.

letter: BBlack 07-22-91

Inadequate or deficient MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

When a material safety data sheet (MSDS) is found to be inadequate or deficient, the chemical manufacturer is contacted by OSHA and requested to correct the error within 30 days. If an inadequate response is received, the manufacturer may be inspected by OSHA and the hazard determination procedures of the chemical manufacturer are reviewed, resulting in the development of an accurate MSDS and its subsequent transmittal to downstream users.

There are, at the present time, over 650,000 chemical substances in use in American workplaces. OSHA, in enforcing the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard, strives to ensure that the information transmitted by chemical manufacturers and importers on their MSDSs and labels for the hazardous chemicals they produce or import is accurate and complete. However, the Agency does not review all MSDSs before their transmittal; to do so would be beyond the capability of OSHA's resources. OSHA does, however, review a representative number of the on-site MSDSs whenever an OSHA inspection is conducted. Appendix C of [CPL 2-2.38C] provides "Hazard Evaluation Procedures" for use by OSHA compliance personnel when evaluating MSDSs, and Appendix D, "Guide to Reviewing MSDS Completeness" is also followed during Agency evaluation of workplace MSDSs. In addition to on-site review, the Agency review MSDSs as a result of referrals such as yours or referrals from other sources which call our attention to inaccurate MSDS information.

letter: JLee 12-06-90

Updating MSDS with ongoing hazard determination testing

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

[Prior] findings don't exempt a chemical manufacturer from performing a hazard determination on his product and checking all other sources of information for new evidence which may have been published. ... The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that material safety data sheets (MSDSs) be updated by the chemical manufacturer within three months of learning of "new or significant information." Chemical manufacturers therefore have a positive requirement to stay abreast of hazard information relative to the products they produce and transmit this information with the next shipment of a product after the MSDS has been updated.

[Originally written about refining oil]

letter: DPeel 11-09-90

Manufacturers who rely on MSDS developed by third party retain responsibility

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

Chemical manufacturers/importers who choose to purchase data sheets for their products from information services, rather than developing them themselves, retain responsibility for providing the sheets and for assuring their accuracy. Employers who in good faith choose to rely upon the sheets provided to them by the chemical manufacturer/importer assume no responsibility for their contents.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-28 10-22-90

MSDS changes

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

When any new or significant information becomes available to the chemical manufacturer or importer, that party is responsible (not the downstream user or employer) for updating the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and/or the label within three months. The new MSDS/label must be transmitted with the next shipment of the product to the downstream user. [You] will know that the information on the MSDS has changed whenever [you] receive a new MSDS from the chemical manufacturer, and ... will then be required to incorporate this new information into [your] hazard communication program.

[Originally written about veterinary medicine industry]

letter: LSmith 06-14-90 Congress

MSDS responsibilities of manufacturer or importer

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

It is the responsibility of the chemical manufacturer or importer to evaluate and compile all the hazard information known about the chemicals he produces. It is also his responsibility to transmit and update that information on material safety data sheets (MSDSs) sent to downstream users. Any party who changes a chemical's MSDS or label then becomes the responsible party for the change. Responsible parties must be able to supply all the information required by the MSDS, including appropriate emergency information as discussed above.

[Originally written for a state run program]

letter: LSioris 06-04-90

MSDS changes and update

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

...[Y]our [product] material safety data sheet (MSDS) must reflect the potential carcinogenicity of [your product]. As with all OSHA standards, actions not consistent with the provisions of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) are subject to OSHA review and citation. The provisions of the HCS regarding updating MSDS to reflect new information require such data to have been added within 3 months after publication of the NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin.

[Originally written for diesel fuel exhaust]

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to Regional Administrators 04-04-90 and attached letter to diesel fuel manufacturers 03-14-90

MSDS developed by trade association

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(5)

It is our understanding that the Association of Recycling Industries and other scrap associations have developed material safety data sheets for the primary metals their members are dealing with, and [have made] these available for distribution. It appears that, if a scrap dealer has material safety data sheets for a metal, regardless of the source of that data sheet, as a dealer is distributing the same metal it will be easy to meet the requirements for material safety data sheet distribution. However, from a compliance standpoint, OSHA would make the scrap dealer responsible for the content and accuracy of information on the material safety data sheet and not the Association that prepared it. OSHA will make an effort to notify the trade association of any discrepancies found on material sheets they developed to ensure that other members have corrected copies.

Material safety data sheets only have to be provided to [other distributors or employers] once. No further transmittal is required unless there is a change in the information regarding the hazards or the ways to protect against the hazard. This would not be expected to occur very frequently. Of course, scrap dealers are entitled to receive material safety data sheets from the manufacturers which will provide them with additional information as well.

letter: EMerrigan 05-23-86

Initial Shipments and Updated MSDS - (g)(6)

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraph (g)(6) has been divided into four subsections, preserving most of the original wording. However, the language under paragraph (g)(6)(iv) is new. These changes have been made primarily to achieve consistency with the new structure of paragraph (g)(7), which has also been subdivided. New wording is indicated in quotation marks.

"(i)" Chemical manufacturers or importers shall ensure that distributors and employers are provided an appropriate material safety data sheet with their initial shipment, and with the first shipment after the material safety data sheet is updated;

"(ii)" The chemical manufacturer or importer shall either provide the material safety data sheets with the shipped containers or send them to the "distributor or" employer prior to or at the time of shipment;

"(iii)" If the material safety data sheet is not provided with a shipment that has been labeled as a hazardous chemical, the "distributor or" employer shall obtain one from the "chemical manufacturer or importer" as soon as possible;

"(iv) The chemical manufacturer or importer shall also provide distributors or employers with a material safety data sheet upon request."

Manufacturers responsibility for delivering MSDSs to dentists

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)

Scenario: [A publisher is ] developing a compendium of MDSDs that will be distributed to all practicing dentists....[B]ased on a survey of manufacturers, there is a high likelihood that all manufacturers of dental products would submit MSDSs for inclusion.

Question: [Would] submission of MSDSs for publication in the compendium...fulfill a manufacturer's obligations under the HCS[?]

Section (g)(6) of the HCS is most relevant to [this] inquiry and it states that: "Chemical manufacturers or importers shall ensure that distributors and employers are provided and appropriate MSDS with their initial shipment, and with the first shipment after a material safety data sheet is updated." OSHA included these paragraph (g) requirements in the HCS to ensure that employers obtain the information necessary to inform their employees of the potential health hazards associated with using the product before those employees were exposed to the hazards.

The HCS allows flexibility for chemical manufacturers to use any method to provide MSDSs that meets the requirement of the standard. The MSDS book you describe may meet these requirements, as long as employers are provided the necessary MSDSs.

We do have some concerns about [the] proposal. According to the HCS[,] the manufacturer and importer have the obligation to ensure that the MSDS are provided to the employer. The [compendium proposal] appears to shift responsibility from the chemical manufacturer or importer who must provide an MSDS to the dental employer who would then have to ensure that the MSDS had been included in the book. Under [such a system] it is likely that some dentists will not receive a new or revised MSDS at or before the time of product shipment, even if the compendium is updated quarterly. Such situation would not be in compliance with the HCS. [The publisher] would have to ensure that through some mechanism MSDSs are provided to employers in a timely fashion, i.e., with their initial shipment, and with the first shipment after a material safety data sheet is updated.

Question: [E]ven if [the publisher] guarantee[s] every dentist will receive an MSDS book with updates, [will the] chemical manufacturers...still be required to send individual MSDS to dentists if requested[?]

This is an issue between the chemical manufacturer and the MSDS requester and as long as the HCS MSDS requirements are met, it does not involve OSHA.

letter: MMiller 02-17-94

see also: AHaile 04-06-92

Manufacturer responsibility for the "downstream flow" of hazard information through MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)

[A] "FAX on Demand" [MSDS distribution] system...would not meet the requirements of the regulation as stated in 1910.1200(g)(6)(i). That paragraph states that:

Chemical manufactures or importers shall ensure that distributors and employers are provided an appropriate material safety data sheet with their initial shipment, and with the first shipment after a material safety data sheet is updated.

The standard requires the MSDS to be provided to the downstream user(s) by the chemical manufacturer or importer. [A "FAX on demand"] system requires the MSDS to be sought out by the downstream user(s). This responsibility under the standard cannot be transferred to the downstream user(s).

[Such a] system also relies on the downstream user(s) having a fax machine. While faxes have become prevalent, they are not universal.

[One potential problem that some manufacturers have noted] in providing MSDSs is that [a manufacturer may] "use distributors and...not know when a first shipment to a customer has occurred." OSHA recognizes this difficulty, and has never required manufacturers to automatically provide copies of MSDSs to the end use customer, as the manufacturer may have no way of knowing who these customers are. The requirements of the standard are based upon a downstream flow of information from chemical manufacturers to distributors and/or employers and ultimately, to affected employees.

[A manufacturer's] primary obligation in supplying MSDSs is to [its] direct customers, that is, [its] distributors. [The manufacturer] must provide a copy of the MSDS with the first shipment to each of [its] direct customers, and, if the MSDS for one of [its] products is updated, [the manufacturer] must send the updated MSDS with the next shipment of the product to that direct customer. [A manufacturer's] distributors are, in turn, responsible for supplying a copy of the MSDS with the first shipment to each of their direct customers, and so on. Therefore, it is not necessary for [a manufacturer] to include " a miniature version of the MSDS... inside every package."

However, because this chain of information transmission through the distributor can sometimes be broken, OSHA has added the requirement that manufacturers must provide a copy of the MSDS to other "downstream" employers upon request. [A] "FAX-on-demand" system can be used to fulfill this requirement. Please refer to revised language in paragraphs (g)(6) and (g)(7) of the standard for additional clarification on requirements for providing MSDSs.

letter: EBernard 08-31-94

Services to provide MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)

You wanted to know if it was acceptable to copy [material safety] data sheets [MSDS] from various manufacturers, reduce them in size, and place them in a notebook to be marketed to dentists.

Under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, chemical manufacturers and importers are responsible for developing an MSDS and label for each hazardous chemical they produce and for transmitting a copy of the data sheet to the downstream employer or distributor with the initial shipment of the product.

Chemical manufacturers and importers must also update their data sheets whenever they become aware of "new or significant information" which is required to be reported per the HCS's hazard determination section (paragraph (d)) and the MSDS section (paragraph (g)) requirements. Data sheets and labels must be updated within three month's time and the new information must be transmitted with the next shipment of the chemical product. Downstream data sheet recipients are therefore automatically sent a new data sheet from their supplier with the new or next shipment. Relying on data sheets from a service like the one you proposed in lieu of utilizing the MSDSs provided automatically from the manufacturer may result in the utilizing employer being in non-compliance with the OSHA requirements if the newly-updated sheets were not readily accessible to employees at his or her workplace.

You also asked if there would "be a need to obtain consent from these manufacturers to reproduce their respective MSDSs?" In order to answer this question, you would need to contact the individual manufacturers or importers. Reproductions and sale of MSDS by vendors are not addressed by the HCS.

letter: AHaile 04-06-92

see also: MMiller 02-17-94

Transmission of MSDSs by manufacturers and importers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(i)

Under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, chemical manufacturers and importers must transmit a [Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)] with the initial shipment of a hazardous chemical to the downstream employer(s) to whom they supply the product, and again if the information on the data sheet changes. There is no requirement on the part of manufacturers and importers to provide MSDSs for non-occupational uses, and MSDSs are not required to be sent to OSHA. OSHA does not collect or retain a repository of data sheets; their transmittal to the downstream workplace is solely the responsibility of the manufacturer or importer.

letter: MMcNulty 08-28-92

MSDS need not be submitted to OSHA

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(i)

Material safety data sheets (MSDSs) need not be "submitted" to OSHA. ... , they are to be developed and transmitted with the initial shipment of the chemical to downstream employers, and whenever the information required to be included on the data sheet changes.

[Originally written for the research industry]

[Originally written about pharmaceutical drugs]

letter: CParker 09-09-91

Transmitting updated MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(i)

When any new or significant information becomes available to the chemical manufacturer or importer, that party is responsible (not the downstream user or employer) for updating the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and/or the label within three months. The new MSDS/label must be transmitted with the next shipment of the product to the downstream user. [You] will know that the information on the MSDS has changed whenever [you] receive a new MSDS from the chemical manufacturer, and ... will then be required to incorporate this new information into [your] hazard communication program.

[Originally written about veterinary medicine industry]

letter: LSmith 06-14-90 Congress

MSDS distribution to downstream employers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(i)

The product literature states that "material safety data sheets [MSDS] are available," which would indicate that the chemical manufacturer has performed a hazard determination on the product and has found it to contain hazardous chemicals, since he has produced and has available a MSDS (no MSDS is required if the product does not contain hazardous chemicals). The chemical manufacturer must transmit the MSDS (and appropriate warning labels) to downstream employers with the initial product shipment or whenever there is new hazard information reported on the MSDS. Retail distributors of hazardous chemicals do not have to provide MSDS to commercial customers unless requested to do so (i.e., when retail products are packaged for sale to consumers, no MSDS need be provided unless the product will not be used in the same manner as a normal consumer would use it).

[Originally written for the chemical manufacturing industry]

letter: GVanderJagt 01-29-90 Congress

Limits on manufacturer supplying MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(i)

The standard does not compel manufacturers to supply material safety data sheets with each product shipped or to reimburse distributors of the products for duplication costs. The standard does require chemical manufacturers to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals is labeled.

letter: RGrover 12-05-88

Hazard communication requirements vs. DOD classified information requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(i)

You have inquired about the relationship between the OSHA Hazard Communication standard and the Department of Defense's (DOD) requirements for safeguarding all classified information to which defense contractors have access. [OSHA] Solicitor's Office attorneys have contacted the Defense Department personnel responsible for procurement and for security. They have also examined the pertinent OSHA and DOD documents. The staff has concluded, based on its discussions and research, that the OSHA standard and the DOD contractual requirements, as set forth in the "Industrial Security Manual for Safeguarding Classified Information", are generally compatible. Therefore, defense contractors should be able to protect the safety and health of their employees while upholding the security interests of the United States. The bases for this conclusion are set out below:

Insofar as circumstances arise in which [your company] supplies hazardous chemicals directly to DOD customers, the Armed Services Procurement Regulations (ASPR), Clause 7-104.98, requires that contractors provide hazardous material identification and material safety data sheets. The Government then uses this information to apprise its employees of hazards to which they may be exposed in the course of their work. Thus, regardless of the Hazard Communication standard's applicability, contractors are already required to transmit hazard information "downstream" to their DOD customers.

Downstream employers receiving hazardous chemicals subject to DOD security regulations from [your company] would also, most likely, be DOD contractors. They would, therefore, be subject to the same security requirements while working with the chemicals, and subject to the same notification requirements when delivering products to the Defense Department.

The Industrial Security Manual (see paragraph 5(c)) specifies that "Contractors shall ensure that classified information is furnished or disclosed only to authorized persons." (See paragraph 3(e).) It is the "need to know" (see paragraph 3(b - g)) which determines access to classified information. This need to know permits contractors to disclose classified information to their employees so they can "perform tasks or services essential to the fulfillment of a classified contract or program." Defense contractor employees must safeguard any classified information which they obtain in the course of their work. (See paragraph 5 (f).) Employees' access to classified information is conditioned by satisfaction of the Industrial Security Manual's security clearance procedures. (See paragraphs 5, 20 and 22).

There may be circumstances when security requirements will preclude disclosing the identity of a hazardous chemical to employees. [Your company] would inform its DOD contract officer as to the particular situation arousing concern.

letter: TWerner 09-14-84

MSDS required for first shipment of hazardous chemicals

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(ii)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires material safety data sheets (MSDS) to be provided prior to or at the time of the first shipment of a hazardous chemical. Therefore the MSDS, which provides information to both employers and exposed employees about the hazards of the chemical and associated protective measures will be at the workplace prior to employee exposures.

When a MSDS is updated with new information, the rule requires the manufacturer to send the updated MSDS to the employer with the first shipment after the update.

[Originally written about the distribution industry]

letter: EIsenberg 01-22-90

Requirements of a pharmacy in obtaining MSDSs from drug manufacturers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(iii)

Question: If the manufacturer will not or cannot provide a MSDS for a covered drug, must the pharmacy document its attempt to obtain a MSDS?

Yes, the pharmacy is to contact the drug manufacturer, importer, or distributor to request a MSDS. This action should be documented in the form of a letter. Section (g)(1) of the standard states that "the employer shall have a MSDS for each hazardous chemical they use." However, employers are not to be held responsible for inaccurate information on the MSDS which they did not prepare and they have accepted in good faith from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor.

Please bear in mind that the package inserts and the Physician's Desk References cannot be accepted in lieu of MSDSs, as these documents do not meet the specification requirements of MSDSs under the present rule.

letter: CCoe 01-03-94

Employer's obligation to obtain the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(iii)

This paragraph contains the obligation for an employer to obtain the material safety data sheet (MSDS) as soon as possible if it was not provided with the shipment. It is not necessary for the employer to perform a hazard determination but only to request the MSDSs. If the container label indicates a hazard, the employer will know an MSDSs is necessary.

Chemical manufacturers and importers have an affirmative duty to provide MSDSs to distributors and employers. Thus, a chemical manufacturer and/or importer shall be cited under (g)(6) if they withhold sending MSDSs to downstream users with an initial shipment or with the first shipment after updating an MSDSs, pending a separate payment for the MSDSs. Similarly, under (g)(7), distributors have an affirmative duty to provide MSDSs to other distributors and downstream employers and cannot withhold sending the MSDSs pending separate payment.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-32 10-22-90

Obtaining properly completed MSDSs and labels

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(iii)

Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import and to convey the hazard information to downstream employers and distributors in the form of labels and material safety data sheets (MSDSs). If the information [the employer] receives from his suppliers is deficient, he should write to both the product manufacturer and supplier for corrected labels or sheets. In the event he does not receive the corrected information, [the employer] should send copies of the deficient items to his nearest OSHA Area Office and request assistance in obtaining properly completed labels and MSDSs.

letter: RKasten 07-26-89 Congress

Employer's obligation to obtain the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6)(iv)

This paragraph contains the obligation for an employer to obtain the material safety data sheet (MSDS) as soon as possible if it was not provided with the shipment. It is not necessary for the employer to perform a hazard determination but only to request the MSDSs. If the container label indicates a hazard, the employer will know an MSDSs is necessary.

Chemical manufacturers and importers have an affirmative duty to provide MSDSs to distributors and employers. Thus, a chemical manufacturer and/or importer shall be cited under (g)(6) if they withhold sending MSDSs to downstream users with an initial shipment or with the first shipment after updating an MSDSs, pending a separate payment for the MSDSs. Similarly, under (g)(7), distributors have an affirmative duty to provide MSDSs to other distributors and downstream employers and cannot withhold sending the MSDSs pending separate payment.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-32 10-22-90

Distributors - (g)(7)

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraph (g)(7) has been divided into seven subsections. This has been done to clarify the different responsibilities of wholesale and retail distributors with respect to commercial customers and employers purchasing in retail quantities. While much of the original wording has been preserved, a great deal has been added. New wording is indicated in quotation marks:

"(i)" Distributors shall ensure that material safety data sheets and updated information are provided to other distributors and employers "with their initial shipment and with the first shipment after a material safety data sheet is updated;"

"(ii) The distributor shall either provide material safety data sheets with the shipped containers or send them to the other distributor or employer prior to or at the time of shipment;"

"(iii)" Retail distributors "selling hazardous chemicals to employers having a commercial account" shall provide a material safety data sheet to such employers upon request, and shall post a sign or otherwise inform them that a material safety data sheet is available;

"(iv) Wholesale distributors selling hazardous chemicals to employers over-the-counter may also, as an alternative to keeping a file of material safety data sheets for all hazardous chemicals they sell, provide material safety data sheets upon the request of the employer at the time of the over-the-counter purchase, and shall post a sign or otherwise inform such employers that a material safety data sheet is available;"

"(v) If an employer without a commercial account purchases a hazardous chemical from a retail distributor not required to have material safety data sheets on file (i.e., the retail distributor does not have commercial accounts and does not use the materials) the retail distributor shall provide the employer, upon request, with the name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor from which a material safety data sheet can be obtained;"

"(vi) Wholesale distributors shall also provide material safety data sheets to employers or other distributors upon request;"

"(vii)" Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors need not provide material safety data sheets to retail distributors that have informed them that the retail distributor does not sell the product to "commercial accounts" or open the sealed container to use it in their own workplaces.

The distinction between retail and commercial distribution is discussed below in subsections for subparagraphs (g)(7)(iii) through (vii). The definitions for "commercial account" and "distributor" are discussed under Paragraph (c), Definitions. The sections discussing the sealed container exemption, under paragraph (b)(3), and the consumer product exemption, under (b)(6)(ix), are also pertinent.

Electronic MSDS transmittal permissible if mutually agreeable

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)

If the distributor and the receiver have mutually agreed that microfiche, computer or FAX will be used for material safety data sheet (MSDS) transmission and both the distributor and the receiver already have the equipment at their worksites, these methods may be used. The distributor cannot require downstream recipients of his MSDS to purchase or acquire machinery (computer, microfiche reader/printer, FAX or any other types of equipment) in order to be able to receive MSDS information, since it is the responsibility of the distributor to supply a MSDS with the initial shipment. However, if the two parties agree that such automated MSDS transmission will occur, both parties have the necessary equipment and the information on the MSDS will be readily available to the employees, then the use of this type of transmission would meet the requirement of the standard.

Many larger plants have met the requirements of MSDS information transmission under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) by installing inplant terminals and ensuring the training of employees to be able to easily access the information. The requirement for adequate employee training to access the electronically available information is key to compliance with this provision as you propose it, and must be met in order to ensure ready access to the hazard information contained on the MSDS.

letter: LMarchese 07-20-89

MSDS requirements for scrap dealers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)

Scrap dealers are not exempted from complying with the HCS. However, ... the information transmittal requirements placed on scrap dealers are limited. Generally, the only requirement that the HCS places on non-manufacturing scrap dealers is that they send their customers labels and material safety data sheets when the scrap dealers receive labels and data sheets from the employers who had scrapped the materials. This limited requirement is mandated by the HCS and is appropriate in light of the standard's intent and purpose.

The definition of "distributor" under the HCS is "a business other than a chemical manufacturer of importer, which supplies hazardous chemicals to other distributors or to [employers]." When a distributor receives chemical hazard information from its supplier, the distributor must pass that information to other downstream distributors and to [employers] to ensure that employers and employees are aware of such chemical hazards. See 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(1), (f)(1) and (g)(7).

With regard to your contention that scrap dealers do not appear to be distributors because they are not supplying "hazardous chemicals...," this argument is not supported by the definitions and provisions incorporated into the rule. All of the primary metals meet the definition of "chemical" under the rule (being elements, or compounds of elements), and generally they would all be expected to present one or more of the hazards covered by the standard (see 1910.1200(c) for definitions of health and physical hazards). In fact, under the rule, many of the metals are to be considered hazardous in all situations by virtue of being included in the "floor" list of chemicals incorporated by reference under paragraphs (d)(3) and (d)(4) of the hazard determination provision.

Manufacturers and importers are required to provide information on the scrap metal they sell to the dealers. This information must, in turn, be given to the downstream [employers] by the scrap dealers. Upstream manufacturers are also required to pass on any information they have regarding known contaminants of the scrap, as would be the case if cutting fluids were present. Scrap dealers are not required to analyze the scrap for impurities or contaminants; only to pass on information regarding the hazards of chemicals known to be present.

Scrap dealers do not have to develop or transmit labels and material safety data sheets for scrap collected from non-manufacturers who do not supply such information materials and who are not required by the HCS to do so. Distributors, such as scrap dealers, generally are not required to create their own hazard communication materials; they must only pass on those labels and material safety data sheets they do receive to [downstream employers].

letter: EMerrigan 05-23-86

Providing MSDSs through distributors

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(i)

According to our rulemaking record, employers using materials will be assured of receiving the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for a hazardous chemical only when suppliers are required to provide it to them. As a distributor of hazardous chemicals to employers, ... [your constituent] is thus required to provide information to those employers who will be using them. This will ensure that employees can be properly protected when they are exposed to the hazardous chemical.

letter: JKerrey 09-30-91 Congress

Scrap dealers as distributors--MSDS requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(i)

Scrap dealers are generally considered distributors and, since their products are not articles, would NOT be exempt from the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). If their suppliers are furnishing articles which they did not manufacture, (such as a broken refrigerator), the supplier is not required to provide a label or material safety data sheets (MSDSs). However, if their suppliers added hazardous chemicals to the article, as would be the case if an employer scraps pipes that contained a hazardous chemical and continues to contain its residue, the supplier must provide a label and MSDSs to the scrap dealer. In addition, "article" manufacturers that sell for scrap those produced items that fail specification or suppliers who provide, for example, metal tailings from a manufacturing process, are considered by OSHA to have the required knowledge of the item's constituents and must develop and transmit MSDSs and labels to downstream scrap dealers.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-29 10-22-90

Distributors and commercial accounts

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(i)

The standard as currently in effect requires distributors to send or provide material safety data sheets (MSDSs) to downstream users only at the time of an initial shipment of chemical product or when the MSDS is updated or changed to contain new or significant information about the chemical's hazards. Many distributors of hazardous chemicals only sell to commercial accounts - i.e., all their customers are employers who usually buy chemicals in larger quantities, over time, usually at costs below retail. These distributors would always need to have MSDSs for the hazardous chemicals they sell to their commercial account customers and provide them at initial shipment or when the MSDS is updated. They must also post a sign or otherwise inform employees that an MSDS is available.

letter: DWolf 10-15-90

Updating the MSDS as a distributor

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(i)

As a distributor of materials that may pose a chemical hazard to downstream employees, [the company] receives material safety data sheets (MSDS) and label information from their chemical supplier(s) at the time of the first shipment of the chemical product(s). Suppliers are not required to send MSDSs again unless the MSDS is updated or change to contain new or significant information about the chemical's hazards. Distributors also need only send the MSDS to the downstream user at the time of the initial shipment or when the MSDS is updated. These provisions are detailed in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) at section (g)(7). If the ... Company's customers are not commercial customers, then [you] would need to supply the MSDS to these employers only upon request.

[Originally written for the beauty salon industry]

letters: SGibbons 08-15-90, BGraham 08-22-90

Distributors & MSDS responsibility

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(i)

Under the current, rule, distributors of hazardous chemicals must provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) and updated information, per paragraph (g)(7) of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), to other distributors and employers.

If the distributor has failed to transmit the MSDS to the employer, the distributor would be subject to citation for violation of paragraph (g)(7), unless he did not receive the MSDS from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor.

OSHA realized that this requirement of the HCS to supply MSDS and labels to customers that .. distribute hazardous chemicals .. may have imposed additional paperwork burdens.... However, as stated in the Standard, the unimpeded downstream flow of hazard information is key to achieving the goals of the HCS. Distributor's transmittal of the MSDS and appropriate labels provide downstream employers with the information they need to inform and train their employees properly and the design and put in place employee protection programs. It also provides necessary hazard information to employees so they can participate in, and support, the protective measures in place at their workplaces.

[Originally written for the hardware industry]

letters: DWolf 05-16-90, CWylie 05-18-90 Congress, BMcEwen 10-08-90 Congress

Distributors' responsibilities when repackaging chemicals

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(i)

Distributors are responsible for copying and sending material safety data sheets (MSDS) to downstream employers. When a distributor receives only one material safety data sheet for each container of hazardous chemicals sent to him and he then subdivides the chemical into smaller containers and sends them to several downstream employers, that distributor is responsible for sending a MSDS and label with each new, (smaller) container he ships. ... the unimpeded downstream flow of hazard information is key to achieving the goals of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Distributors' transmittal of the MSDS and appropriate labels provide downstream employers with the information they need to inform and train employers properly and to design and put in place employee protection programs. It also provides necessary hazard information to employees so they can participate in, and support, the protective measures in place at their workplaces.

letter: JDanforth 02-07-90 Congress

MSDS is not association's responsibility

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(i)

OSHA does not endorse or validate a distributor's program. From an enforcement standpoint, we can determine compliance with the standard only at the time of an inspection.

As required by the standard, the distributor would be held responsible for ensuring that each customer receives the required material safety data sheet. The distributor, therefore, would be held responsible for violations of the standard and not the ... Distributors Association.

[Originally written for the Veterinary Distributors Association]

letter: JFries 01-13-89

Distributors not precluded from payment to cover cost of MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(ii)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) does not prohibit distributors for asking their customers to pay for the cost of providing material safety data sheets (MSDS). The standard states that the distributor shall ensure that material safety data sheets are provided to other distributors and employers. However, a distributor cannot break the established link between the requirement to provide a MSDS and the shipment of a hazardous chemical. Distributors that have shipped hazardous chemicals to downstream employers, therefore, are required to have provided the employer a MSDS. Failure of a distributor to send MSDS for hazardous chemicals previously shipped to downstream employers would result in a citation for non-compliance and abatement would require the distributor to provide the MSDS to the customers at no cost. As a result, it is the Agency's interpretation that distributors cannot charge their customers for MSDS for hazardous chemicals previously shipped. If a hazardous chemical has not yet been shipped the standard does not prohibit a distributor from charging a customer for the MSDS.

letter: PDavis 01-19-89

Distributors vs. Retail Distributors

Obligations of Retail Distributors - (g)(7)(iii)

Retail fuel distributors' responsibility to provide MSDSs to rental car agencies with fleet fuel accounts

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

Question: [When] companies...send their employees to a service station to fill up company vehicles with motor fuel, pursuant to a fleet fueling account, [does this] constitute "commercial accounts" as defined in the amended HCS[?]

In response to [the above] question, please refer to the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, where a definition was added for "commercial account".

"Commercial account means an arrangement whereby a retail distributor sells hazardous chemicals to an employer, generally in large quantities over time and/or at costs that are below the regular retail price."

In [the] example where employers such as [rental car agencies] have established a "fleet fuel account" with [a retail fuel distributor], the "fleet fuel account" appears to be a "commercial account". Therefore, [the retail fuel distributor] must inform their commercial account holders that an MSDS for motor fuel is available, and shall provide the MSDS upon the company's request. Please bear in mind that this conclusion is based on [available] information.... Ultimately, compliance with an OSHA standard is determined by field staff in our Area Offices.

letter: EHay 12-28-94

Retail distributor MSDS requirements for wood products

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

[The] responsibilities [of] a retail distributor [of wood products] under the amended Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) are limited. Specifically, section 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii) requires a retail distributor to post a sign or otherwise inform their customers that MSDSs are available and to provide an MSDS to a customer only upon request; you are not obligated under the standard to provide a copy of the MSDS to each customer, unless requested by the customer to do so.

letter: SEarnest 12-05-94

MSDS and training requirements for retailers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

Question: What are the requirements of a retailer in maintenance and employee training [on MSDSs]?

In the February 9, 1994, Hazard Communication Final Rule paragraph (g)(7), OSHA clarifies the different responsibilities of wholesale and retail distributors with respect to commercial customers and employers purchasing in retail quantities. According to paragraph (g)(7)(iii) of the HCS, retail distributors selling hazardous chemicals to employers having a commercial account shall provide a material safety data sheet to such employers upon request and shall post a sign or otherwise inform them that a material safety data sheet is available.

For employees who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace, paragraph (h) specifies the information and training requirements. For example, employers are required to inform employees of the location and availability of MSDSs.

Question: Assuming [MSDSs] are to be used in helping the consumer in case of an emergency[,] [w]hat happens after the retailer's regular business hours or when the manufacturer's facility is closed on the weekend[?]

It is the manufacturer and not the retailer that is responsible for maintaining an emergency number [(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xii))]. The emergency number is used when additional product information is required during a hazardous chemical emergency. Hours of emergency line operation must be decided individually by each chemical manufacturer.

The requirement to provide material safety data sheets (MSDSs) to employers who buy their hazardous chemicals from a retail outlet and who request an MSDS for the purchased chemical is a requirement of the standard for these types of distributors if they are transmitting hazardous chemicals to downstream employers. As mentioned in the preamble to the 1987 final rule on Hazard Communication (FR Vol. 52, No. 163, page 31866): "retail distributors will have to assess their product lines, and whether or not they have commercial accounts, to determine whether they must comply with this provision."

Question: [Might not] a better approach...be to create a system similar to the poison control center where the consumer can call an 800 number for an immediate response[?] This would allow the consumer to receive accurate information 24 hours a day. (Employees have a difficult time understanding these sheets).

The HCS does not apply to the general public. Normally, MSDS's are not required to be transmitted to retail consumers unless they request one. The purpose of OSHA's HCS is to reduce chemical source illnesses and injuries through acquisition of hazard information. This can only occur if employees receive the information on the hazardous substances they work with in usable form through appropriate training, which will enhance their ability to understand the sheets. In effect, employees at a worksite with hazardous chemicals must be trained on the hazardous materials they are exposed to, how to obtain and use information on labels and material safety data sheets (MSDSs), and how to follow appropriate work practices.

letter: JDuncan 09-28-94

Distributors' duty to provide MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

Employers purchasing hazardous chemicals from a retail distributor, whose employees will be required to use those chemicals with a greater frequency and duration of exposure than that of regular consumers, must request the material safety data sheet(s) [MSDS(s)] from the retail distributor in order to provide his employees protection under the HCS.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-32 10-22-90

Transmitting MSDS to commercial accounts

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

Other distributors may, ..., sell to commercial accounts only infrequently. The requirement to provide material safety data sheets (MSDSs) to employers who buy their hazardous chemicals from a retail outlet and who request an MSDS for the purchased chemical is a positive requirement of the standard for these types of distributors if they are transmitting hazardous chemicals to downstream employers. As mentioned ... in the preamble to the 1987 final rule on Hazard Communication (FR Vol. 52, No. 163, page 31866), "retail distributors will have to assess their product lines, and whether or not they have commercial accounts, to determine whether they must comply with this provision."

The preamble narrative also quoted a comment obtained during the notice and comment period from [Retail Company], which suggested that the requirements as set forth in the current standard are reasonable:

"If OSHA does require commercial customers to get information through a retail outlet, I do not foresee any problems with that arrangement. The manufacturers could supply us with the information, as they are required to now for shipments to manufacturing plants, and we could make it available to customers upon request. We would merely keep the sheets in a file drawer and post a sign informing customers of their availability. We have less than 100 chemicals that would probably be affected, and keeping information on those would require at most, one file drawer. It would not be burdensome."

letters: DWolf 10-15-90, CWylie 05-18-90 Congress, BMcEwen 10-08-90 Congress

MSDS paperwork burden

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

OSHA realizes that the requirement of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to supply material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and labels for hazardous chemicals may have imposed additional paperwork burdens on retail ... distributors, ... The unimpeded downstream flow of hazard information is key to achieving the goals of the HCS. Distributor's transmittal of the MSDS and appropriate labels provide downstream employers with the information they need to implement employee protection programs. It also provides necessary hazard information to employees so they can participate in and support the protective measures in place at their workplaces.

[Originally written for the hardware industry]

letters: SGibbons 08-15-90, BGraham 08-22-90, HMarsolais 09-12-90

MSDS provision for retail distributors: commercial and consumer accounts

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

The retail distributors likely affected, [by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)], are those selling building supplies, hardware, etc. Retail distributors will have to assess their product lines, and whether or not they have commercial accounts, to determine whether they must comply with this provision.

[Originally written for the hardware industry]

letters: DWolf 05-16-90, CWylie 05-18-90 Congress, BMcEwen 10-08-90 Congress

Retail distributors and MSDS responsibility

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

Under the current, rule, distributors of hazardous chemicals must provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) and updated information, per paragraph (g)(7) of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), to other distributors and employers.

Retail distributors who sell hazardous chemicals to employers must provide an MSDS upon request, and must post a sign or otherwise inform employers that an MSDS is available. ... an employer purchasing chemicals for his workers to use at his worksite is responsible for asking for the MSDS from the distributor. This must only be done, of course, if those workers will be using the "consumer product" in a manner that results in a duration and frequency of use and therefore exposure greater than would result from normal consumer usage.

... distributors receive MSDS and label information from the chemical supplier(s) at the time of the first shipment of the chemical. The MSDS need only be sent again downstream if the MSDS is updated or changed to contain new or significant information about the chemical's hazards. Distributors also need only send the MSDS to the downstream user at the time of the initial shipment or at the time of the next shipment after the MSDS has been updated.

If the distributor has failed to transmit the MSDS to the employer, the distributor would be subject to citation for violation of paragraph (g)(7), unless he did not receive the MSDS from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor.

OSHA realized that this requirement of the HCS to supply MSDS and labels to customers that .. distribute hazardous chemicals .. may have imposed additional paperwork burdens.... However, as stated in the Standard, the unimpeded downstream flow of hazard information is key to achieving the goals of the HCS. Distributor's transmittal of the MSDS and appropriate labels provide downstream employers with the information they need to inform and train their employees properly and the design and put in place employee protection programs. It also provides necessary hazard information to employees so they can participate in, and support, the protective measures in place at their workplaces.

[Originally written for the hardware industry]

letters: DWolf 05-16-90, CWylie 05-18-90 Congress, BMcEwen 10-08-90 Congress

MSDS distribution to downstream employers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

The product literature states that "material safety data sheets [MSDS] are available," which would indicate that the chemical manufacturer has performed a hazard determination on the product and has found it to contain hazardous chemicals, since he has produced and has available a MSDS (no MSDS is required if the product does not contain hazardous chemicals). The chemical manufacturer must transmit the MSDS (and appropriate warning labels) to downstream employers with the initial product shipment or whenever there is new hazard information reported on the MSDS. Retail distributors of hazardous chemicals do not have to provide MSDS to commercial customers unless requested to do so (i.e., when retail products are packaged for sale to consumers, no MSDS need be provided unless the product will not be used in the same manner as a normal consumer would use it).

[Originally written for the chemical manufacturing industry]

letter: GVanderJagt 01-29-90 Congress

Responsibility of distributors concerning MSDS information

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

Section (g)(7) requires retail distributors that sell hazardous chemicals to commercial customers to provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) to such employees upon request. (Distributors obtain the MSDS from the chemical manufacturer, the preparer of the MSDS). Additionally, the chemical manufacturer ... would have to have developed and have available at his manufacturing worksite location, MSDS for his own employees at that site who are exposed to the [product(s)] in question during their formulation and production. Sharing the MSDS with downstream employers upon request for distribution to their employees who are also exposed meets the intent of the standard.

[Originally written for the chemical manufacturing industry]

[Originally written about pesticides]

letter: SSchatzow 01-09-90

"Distributors" vs. "Retail distributors" for medical products: SIC codes

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

The term distributor is defined. The rule further indicates that "retail" distributors are treated somewhat differently in that they must inform commercial customers that material safety data sheets are available upon request, but do not have to provide the sheets automatically with first shipment of product as other distributors do. The requirements and the distinction between "distributors" and "retail distributors" are not related to whether or not the customer uses the product or resells it ... . The rule differentiates between "distributors" and "retail distributors" to recognize that while retail establishments primarily deal with the general public, selling products that are intended for personal or household consumption, they may also be a supply source for covered employers. The type of over-the-counter operations found in these facilities would make it difficult for most to determine at the point of purchase whether or not a customer is an employer who needs a material safety data sheet (MSDS). The term "on request" system is permitted to preclude the necessity of determining every customer's need for an MSDS at the time of purchase in a retail establishment, or of providing an MSDS to every customer, whether or not the customer is an employer.

...[T]he company ... distributes health care products to hospitals, physicians, clinics, and nursing homes, not the general public. The Standard Industrial Classification Manual indicates that the wholesale trade division of industry includes those establishments which are primarily engaged in selling merchandise to "industrial, commercial, institutional, farm, or professional business users." [This] type of business clearly falls within this description of wholesale trade.

On the other hand, the retail trade division includes establishments that are primarily engaged in providing merchandise for personal or household consumption. It appears that the only types of business in the retail trade division that may handle the types of products ... described would be drug stores and proprietary stores (SIC Code 5912). If a physician, clinic, etc. were to establish a commercial account with such a store for products covered by the rule, then the drug store would become a "retail distributor" under the standard and be required to inform the customer of the availability of the MSDS on request.

letter: TKnauer 12-15-89

Distributors' responsibility to retail vs. Commercial customers

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

Distributors are required to pass along material safety data sheets to downstream employers. The material safety data sheet must be provided to commercial customers prior to or with the initial shipment of the hazardous chemical and with the first shipment after the sheet has been updated. Retail distributors must provide, upon request, material safety data sheets to commercial customers and post a sign or otherwise inform them a material safety data sheet is available. This provision of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) was included to prevent the necessity of providing a sheet to each customer of a retail establishment in order to ensure that employers obtained a material safety data sheet. Distributors are not required to provide material safety data sheets to retail distributors which have informed them that they do not sell the product to commercial customers or open the sealed containers to use in their own workplaces.

The HCS does not apply to consumers. Therefore, [you are] not required to pass on material safety data sheets to consumers.

letter: BRichardson 04-24-89 Congress

MSDS requirements for manufacturers and retail distributors

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iii)

The standard does not compel manufacturers to supply material safety data sheets with each product shipped or to reimburse distributors of the products for duplication costs. The standard does require chemical manufacturers to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals is labeled.

Retail distributors must provide, upon request, material safety data sheets to commercial customers and post a sign or otherwise inform them that a material safety data sheet is available. This provision of the HCS was included to prevent the necessity of providing a sheet to each customer of a retail establishment in order to ensure that employers obtained a material safety data sheet. Distributors are not required to provide material safety data sheets to retail distributors that do not sell the product to commercial customers or open the sealed containers.

letter: RGrover 12-05-88

Over-the-Counter Wholesale Sales - (g)(7)(iv)

Over-the-counter wholesale sales

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(iv)

As a distributor of materials that may pose a chemical hazard to downstream employees, [the company] receives material safety data sheets (MSDS) and label information from their chemical supplier(s) at the time of the first shipment of the chemical product(s). Suppliers are not required to send MSDSs again unless the MSDS is updated or change to contain new or significant information about the chemical's hazards. Distributors also need only send the MSDS to the downstream user at the time of the initial shipment or when the MSDS is updated. These provisions are detailed in the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) at section (g)(7). If the ... Company's customers are not commercial customers, then [you] would need to supply the MSDS to these employers only upon request.

[Originally written for the beauty salon industry]

letters: SGibbons 08-15-90, BGraham 08-22-90

Sales to Employers without Commercial Accounts - (g)(7)(v)

Sales to employers without commercial account

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(v)

Employers purchasing hazardous chemicals from a retail distributor, whose employees will be required to use those chemicals with a greater frequency and duration of exposure than that of regular consumers, must request the material safety data sheet(s) [MSDS(s)] from the retail distributor in order to provide his employees protection under the HCS.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-32 10-22-90

Retail Distributor Exemption - (g)(7)(vii)

Retail distributor exemptions

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7)(vii)

Retail distributors must provide, upon request, material safety data sheets to commercial customers and post a sign or otherwise inform them that a material safety data sheet is available. This provision of the HCS was included to prevent the necessity of providing a sheet to each customer of a retail establishment in order to ensure that employers obtained a material safety data sheet. Distributors are not required to provide material safety data sheets to retail distributors that do not sell the product to commercial customers or open the sealed containers.

letter: RGrover 12-05-88

Maintaining MSDS in Work Area - (g)(8)

Requirements at multi-employer worksites are also discussed under Subparagraph (e)(2).

In the February 9, 1994, Amendments to the Final Hazard Communication Rule, paragraph (g)(8) has been modified. New language is indicated in quotation marks:

(8) The employer shall maintain copies of the required material safety data sheets and ensure that they are readily accessible to workers during each work shift while they are in their work areas. "(Electronic access, microfiche, and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the material safety data sheets are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options.)"

Methods of maintaining and providing employee access to MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

...[U]nder OSHA's interpretation of the HCS [(Hazard Communication Standard)], the employer may use electronic or other methods to maintain and provide access to MSDSs as long as there are no barriers to employee access. The paragraph of the standard that applies is 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8), which states:

"The employer shall maintain in the workplace copies of the required material safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical, and shall ensure that they are readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area(s). (Electronic access, microfiche, and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the material safety data sheets are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options.)"

...[A]s a policy matter, OSHA does not approve materials developed by the private sector. If any organization represents OSHA's review as an approval and advertises the material as being OSHA-approved, OSHA will refer the matter to the Federal Trade Commission for action. You are free to forward a copy of this response to any and all parties interested.

In spite of any claims by advertising, compliance with OSHA standards is determined by OSHA compliance officers during an on-site evaluation. When a compliance officer inspects a facility, the adequacy and accuracy of the hazard communication program is assessed, including MSDS, labels, and other written materials.

letter: WSchuchman 03-24-95

see also: JBlitchington 09-27-90

Accessibility of material safety data sheets

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

Questions:

1. Can a central repository of MSDS be kept at one location in one of the buildings that support seven buildings?

2. ...[F]ifty buildings are on city blocks which are all contiguous in a five square block area, with the same personnel and security situation as noted in [question] #1 above. Can a single MSDS repository serve all these buildings?

3. ...[D]oes a single repository provided for each building with security having twenty-four hour a day access to them for all departments in that building meet the intent of the OSHA regulations?

The key to compliance with the HCS is that employees have no barriers to access to the information and that the MSDSs be available during all workshifts. The HCS is a performance oriented standard. A performance-oriented standard gives employees the flexibility to adapt the rule to the needs of the workplace situation, instead of having to follow specific rigid requirements. Situations #1, #2, and #3 would have to be evaluated within the context of the employers Hazard Communication Program.

...[T]he HCS specifies that MSDS must be maintained on site and readily accessible during each workshift to employees when they are in their work area(s) [(29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(4), 1910.1200(g)(8))]. Again, the situations you describe above could meet that requirement as long as there are no barriers to employees accessing the MSDSs.

letter: JBalsamo 02-01-94

Electronic transmission of material safety data sheets (MSDSs)

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

In your letter you were concerned about the availability of MSDS information that is electronically transmitted by means of a computer database. In particular, you want to know whether employers have to provide a backup computer system when the main system is down for short periods of time for repair or maintenance.

The [Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)], paragraph 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8), requires employers to ensure that MSDSs are "readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work area(s)." Either providing a backup system to your main computer system or printing a hard copy set of the MSDSs before shutting down the system would satisfy this requirement.

letter: EBeck 09-07-93

MSDSs at remote sites ruled in violation

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

...[T]he [OSHA] Review Commission again reexamined the meaning of the term "readily accessible" in 1926.59(g)(8). The Commission held that because [the Company's] material safety data sheets (MSDS) for [oxygen and acetylene] were located only at its central office and not at its remote worksite, which was 10 minutes from the office, the MSDS were not "readily accessible" at the worksite in violation of 1926.59(g)(8).

court: 15 BNA OSHC 1353, Docket No. 90-1084, 1991

MSDSs for remote worksite kept at home office are in violation

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

In finding a violation of 1926.59(g)(8), the Commission held that material safety data sheets (MSDSs) which were maintained at the company's home office, located 22 miles away from its remote excavation worksite, were not "readily accessible" to employees at the transient site within the meaning of the standard. The Commission was unpersuaded by respondent's contention that the data sheets could be produced within a reasonable period of time and were available upon request to employees. Respondent's alternative argument that the hazard information contained in MSDS could be transmitted via telephone was also rejected by the OSHRC. Finding that the MSDS's emergency medical treatment information is of primal importance, the Commission found that under the company's scheme, data sheets would not have been readily available in an emergency.

court: 15 BNA OSHC 1313, Docket No. 89-2253, 1991

Multi-employer worksites and the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

Paragraph (e)(2)(i) requires an employer on a multi-employer worksite to provide other employers with a copy of pertinent material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or to make them available at a central location in the workplace. This requirement covers each hazardous chemical to which the other employer's employees may be exposed. Therefore, one employer does not actually have to physically give another employer the MSDSs, but the employer must inform the other employer of the location where the MSDSs will be maintained (e.g., in the general contractor's trailer). The performance-orientation of the rule allows employers to decide the method to be used to accomplish the required exchange of information.

In the construction industry, it would probably be most efficient for the general contractor to coordinate the requirement for maintaining MSDSs on site. For example, the general contractor could keep and make available MSDSs in the office on the site.

An employer must provide MSDS(s) to other employers or make them available in a central location if the other employers will have employees exposed or potentially exposed. The potential exposure could even occur at some time in the future. For example, if a painting contractor's workers are using flammable solvents in an area where another subcontractor's workers are welding pipes, then the painting contractor must ensure that the MSDSs for the flammable solvents are available to the welding subcontractor's employees. However, if electricians are not working near or at the same time as the painting contractor, and therefore it is not possible for either employer's employees to be exposed, then no exchange of MSDSs is required.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-14 10-22-90

Alternatives for maintaining access to the MSDS on site

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

This provision requires material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or electronically accessible MSDSs to be maintained on site. Readable copy of MSDS(s) must be available on-site. This may be accomplished by the use of computers with printers, microfiche machines, and/or telefax machines, any of which would meet the intent of the standard. The key to compliance with this provision is that employees have no barriers to access to the information and that the MSDSs be available during the workshift. When direct and immediate access to paper or hard-copy MSDSs does not exist, CSHOs [Compliance Safety and Health Officer] should evaluate the performance of the employer's system by requesting a specific MSDSs. Mere provision of the requested information orally via telephone is not acceptable.

CSHOs must exercise judgment in enforcing this provision. Factors that may be appropriate to consider when determining if MSDSs are readily accessible may include: Must employees ask a supervisor or other management representative for the MSDSs? Are the sheets or alternative methods maintained at a location and under conditions where employees can refer to them during each workshift, when they are in their work areas? If a computer or FAX system is used, do employees know how to operate and obtain information from the system? Employees must have access to the MSDSs and be able to get the information when they need it, in order for an employer to be in compliance with the rule.

On multi-employer jobsites, employers who produce, use or store hazardous chemicals in such a way that other employers' employees are exposed must also provide copies of or access to MSDSs as discussed in section (e) of this Appendix. Again, actual paper copies of data sheets, computer terminal access, FAX, or other means of providing readable copy on-site are permitted, as long as no barriers to employee access exist.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-32&33 10-22-90

The use of computers with the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

Computerized [material safety] data sheets [(MSDS)] are permitted as long as they are readily accessible to employees (i.e., employees have been trained and know how to operate the computers or otherwise access the MSDSs files). Many larger firms use terminals in plant and train key employees to access them. This is acceptable, as long as the information can be obtained during any work shift, as required by the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Similarly, the use of telefax machines to obtain MSDSs is acceptable as long as the system is reliable and readily accessible while employees are in their work areas during all work shifts.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-33&34 10-22-90

Utilizing the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

OSHA currently does require, through its enforcement of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), that "no work [be done] without a current material safety data sheet (MSDS),". ... While OSHA cannot assure an employee will not utilize a hazardous chemical without the MSDS being available, to do so is a violation of section (g)(8) of the standard.

The Agency has interpreted the MSDS availability requirement to allow the use of computers, telefax, microfiche or any other means, as long as a readable copy of the MSDS is available to the downstream workers while they are in their work areas, during each workshift. The key to compliance with this provision is assuring no impediments to employee access to the information. MSDSs made available by "overnight mail" ... would not meet the requirement of the standard that MSDSs be "readily accessible to workers while they are in their work areas, during each workshift."

letter: DWolf 10-15-90

Alternative methods for access to MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

Paragraph (g)(8) of the [Hazard Communication Standard] (HCS) requires [Material Safety Data Sheets] (MSDSs) to be maintained on site and be readily accessible during each workshift to employees while they are in their work area(s). OSHA has interpreted this requirement to allow the use of on-site computer systems with printers, microfiche machines, and telefax machines, as long as readable copy of MSDSs can be provided and be readily available to employees on-site.

The key to compliance with this provision is that employees have no barriers to access to the information and that the MSDS(s) be available during all workshifts. This means that if such electronic systems are utilized to provide MSDS(s), employees need to be trained in the use of the machines so as to affect the intent of the standard, i.e., that employee access to MSDSs be accomplished with the same relative ease of access as would the maintenance of on-site hard copy MSDSs.

letter: JBlitchington 09-27-90

see also: WSchuchman 03-24-95

Employer responsibility to maintain MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

All shipments must be labeled with the chemical identity, the name and address of the chemical manufacturer and an appropriate hazard warning. Therefore, if [you] receive a product labeled with hazard warnings in accordance with the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and [your] employees are or could potentially be exposed to the chemical beyond that of a consumer, then [you] would need to maintain the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for that chemical on site and ensure that it is readily available to [your] employee.

[Originally written for the veterinary medicine industry]

letter: LSmith 06-14-90 Congress

Sharing the MSDS at a central location

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

If the contractor chooses to rely on a method of sharing his material safety data sheets (MSDSs) at a central location, where a copy of all the employers' MSDSs will be kept, the method must also provide for access to them at all times employees are working on the site. If the party who has agreed to maintain all MSDSs at a central location does not provide for access to MSDSs at all times that employees are on-site, then that party would normally be cited for a violation of 29 CFR 1926.59 [1910.1200] (g)(8). However, if the MSDSs are not available because the contractor failed to provide them, then that contractor would normally be cited.

Each contractor has a responsibility to ensure that his employees have ready access to MSDSs for each hazardous chemical in the workplace during each work shift. If a contractor relies on another employer to maintain his MSDSs, and the MSDSs are unavailable to that contractor's employees, the contractor could be cited under 1926.59 (g)(8), unless it is determined that he has a legitimate defense to a citation. OSHA's compliance and enforcement policies at multi-employer worksites, including legitimate defense, are set forth in the Agency's Field Operations Manual ("FOM") in Chapter V, sections F.1. and 2. If an exposing employer meets all the conditions set forth in section F.2., then that employer would not be cited.

[Originally written for the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) industry]

letter: KKrauska 05-16-90

Good faith effort to obtain MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

OSHA monitors material safety data sheet (MSDS) availability and quality during inspection of the using employer's worksite; employers may rely on the data on the MSDS as sent to them from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor. If no MSDS is present then that employer is subject to citation. However, if the using employer, did not receive an MSDS from the chemical manufacturer, importer or distributor and he has demonstrated a good faith effort to obtain the MSDS from them (e.g., a letter or documentation of a telephone call requesting the sheet), then the using employer may not be cited for violation of section (g) of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

Certainly, requesting OSHA assistance to obtain an MSDS from the manufacturer, importer or distributor is also documentation of a good faith effort to obtain the required information.

[Originally written for the hardware industry]

letters: DWolf 05-16-90, CWylie 05-18-90 Congress, BMcEwen 10-08-90 Congress

Construction workers' accessibility to MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

Under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), employees must have ready access to the material safety data sheet (MSDS) information. ... it is the construction worker's employer's responsibility to maintain current copies of MSDS in a central location on the worksite in any manner that ensures that employees are able to refer to them while they are in their work areas during all workshifts. This may be accomplished in any manner, by keeping a hard copy of the actual data sheets themselves, or by the use of computer terminals, a microfiche machine or telefax. The key to compliance with this provision is that employees have no barrier to access the information and that the MSDS be available during all workshifts.

letter: JDanforth 02-07-90 Congress

see also: PClark (DCP) to MConners, RA 08-07-89

Maintain updated MSDSs

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

It is also the employer's responsibility to keep his material safety data sheet (MSDS) file up to date and to ensure that the list of hazardous chemicals that is to be maintained in the workplace as part of his hazard communication program reflects the MSDS currently in use at the worksite. Since an employer only receives a new MSDS when the product changes or information on the data sheet is updated, the receipt of a new sheet from his supplier indicates to the employer the need to update his MSDS file and the list of hazardous chemicals.

[Originally written for the distribution industry]

letter: JDanforth 02-07-90 Congress

MSDS accessibility requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

The rule requires employers to maintain current material safety data sheets (MSDSs), and to ensure that the MSDSs are readily accessible to employees when they are in their work areas during their workshifts. Employees must be informed regarding where the MSDSs are kept, and how they can obtain access to them. ... if MSDSs are inaccessible because a door is locked the employer has not provided ready access in accordance with the standard.

[Originally written for the distribution industry]

 

letter: EIsenberg 01-22-90

MSDS requirements for the construction industry

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8) and 29 CFR 1926.59(g)(8)

Material safety data sheets (MSDSs) are required to be maintained at the jobsite. The basis for this interpretation is the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) definition of workplace which means "establishment, jobsite, or project, at one geographical location containing one or more work areas." The MSDSs must be on the jobsite and readily accessible to employees when they are in their work areas during the workshift. Alternatives, to actual paper copies of MSDSs, which provide readable copy on-site are permitted to meet this requirement. For example, computer terminals or FAX machines which allow employees to read and refer to the MSDS are permitted to be maintained at the jobsite, in lieu of paper copies, as long as no barriers to access exist.

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to MConners, RA 08-07-89

see also: JDanforth 02-07-90

Requirements for MSDS at multi-employer worksites

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

If, as for a construction job, the workplace has multiple employers on-site, employers are to ensure that information regarding the hazards that are present at the worksite and information on measures employees can take to protect themselves is made available to the other employers on-site. Employers on multi-employer worksites must provide other on-site employers (whose employees may be exposed to hazards not brought onto the worksite by their own employer) with a copy of applicable material safety data sheets (MSDSs), or make them available to a location coordinated by both employers at a convenient on-site location.

Allowing a construction contractor to maintain MSDSs in his home office (which could be miles away from the actual jobsite) would not afford employees ready access to the hazard information during each work shift, as is their right under the standard. The employer's written hazard communication program and applicable MSDSs may be kept anywhere on the jobsite, including a vehicle or contractor's trailer, as long as employees know where to find it.

[Originally written referring to 29 CFR 1926.59 (e)(2)]

letter: MHancock 09-07-89

Accessibility time requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

There are no minimum time requirements for determining whether material safety data sheets (MSDSs) maintained at the jobsite are readily accessible to employees while they are in their work areas. To make this determination compliance officers must ascertain whether a barrier to access exists. For example, must employees ask a supervisor or other management representative for the MSDS; are the sheets or alternative methods maintained at a location and under conditions where employees can refer to them during each workshift, when they are in their work areas; if a computer or FAX system is used, do employees know how to operate and obtain information from the system?

Employees must have access to the MSDSs and be able to get the information when they need it. This may be accomplished in many ways and requires the compliance officer to exercise professional judgement in evaluating the accessibility of the MSDSs on-site.

[Originally written referencing 29 CFR 1926.59 (g)(8)]

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to MConners, RA 08-07-89

Electronic MSDS transmittal permissible if mutually agreeable

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

If the distributor and the receiver have mutually agreed that microfiche, computer or FAX will be used for material safety data sheet (MSDS) transmission and both the distributor and the receiver already have the equipment at their worksites, these methods may be used. The distributor cannot require downstream recipients of his MSDS to purchase or acquire machinery (computer, microfiche reader/printer, FAX or any other types of equipment) in order to be able to receive MSDS information, since it is the responsibility of the distributor to supply a MSDS with the initial shipment. However, if the two parties agree that such automated MSDS transmission will occur, both parties have the necessary equipment and the information on the MSDS will be readily available to the employees, then the use of this type of transmission would meet the requirement of the standard.

Many larger plants have met the requirements of MSDS information transmission under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) by installing inplant terminals and ensuring the training of employees to be able to easily access the information. The requirement for adequate employee training to access the electronically available information is key to compliance with this provision as you propose it, and must be met in order to ensure ready access to the hazard information contained on the MSDS.

letter: LMarchese 07-20-89

Telephone hotline does not satisfy MSDS accessibility requirement

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

...[S]uch a [telephone hotline] system would not satisfy the requirements of the rule for employees to have ready access to the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) when they are in their work areas during the workshift (see 1910. 1200(g)(8)). Ready accessibility to the MSDS means that the employee may read and refer to the information. This may be accomplished through actual paper copies of the data sheets, or alternatively through computer terminal access or other means of providing readable copy on-site.

letter: WHolliday 07-20-89

Responsibility for the MSDS at multi-employer worksites

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)

There is no requirement for employers to maintain material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for products that are located at other sites. ..., if [your constituent's] employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals during the course of employment at another employer's site, that other employer must make the MSDSs available to [your constituent] and/or her employees. In other words, the chemicals are under the other employer's control, and thus maintenance of MSDSs on the sites is that employer's responsibility.

letter: JBunning 03-31-89 Congress

Traveling Between Workplaces - (g)(9)

MSDS requirements for employers with employees who travel between work places

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(9)

Question: Does 29 CFR 1926.59(e)(5) [(and 1910.1200(e)(5))] mean that service departments are no longer required to have MSDSs on their vehicles?

...As indicated in paragraph (g)(9) of the standard, if employees travel between workplaces during a workshift, the employer can maintain MSDSs in the primary workplace rather than in each mobile worksite (or in this case in a service department vehicle) provided that the employer ensures that employees can immediately obtain MSDS information in an emergency and can access it whenever they are in the primary workplace.

letter: PFalls 02-02-95

Traveling between workplaces

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(9)

If employees work at more than one site during the shift, they must be able to immediately obtain the material safety data sheet (MSDS) information in an emergency. While the MSDSs may be maintained at a central location in the primary workplace facility, a representative of the employer must be available at that central location to respond to requests for emergency information via telephone or other means.

CPL 2-2.38C: A-33 10-22-90

Telephone access to MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(9)

The only time telephone access is permitted is under the mobile worksite provision of the rule, where employees must travel between workplaces during a workshift (see 1910.1200(g)(9)). In this situation, they have access to the material safety data sheets (MSDSs) prior to leaving the primary worksite and when they return, so the telephone system is simply an emergency arrangement. The [telephone hotline] system could be used at other workplaces to supplement the data sheets on-site. Having someone available to interpret the information on the MSDS could certainly increase the effectiveness of your program.

letter: WHolliday 07-20-89

Format - (g)(10)

Specific product information in an electronic MSDS inventory

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(10)

It is important to note that the specific chemical's material safety data sheet (MSDS) itself, not just "MSDS information" must be available to workers. If, ... , the MSDS utilized in your electronic system is specific to each product and contains the same chemical identity as used on the required label of the chemical, so as to allow cross-referencing between the two, then this aspect of your system would meet the intent of the standard. If the MSDS provided is not product specific, the intent of the standard would not be met.

[Originally written for the hardware distribution industry]

letter: HMarsolais 09-12-90

Acceptable MSDS formatting alternatives

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(10)

If [the] service will be used by employers to provide material safety data sheet (MSDS) information to employees, [it] must be capable of providing all of the required MSDS information. Verbal information that is provided to mobile workforces by telephone must also meet this requirement. Computer generation or FAX transmission of information would be acceptable if a hardcopy can be produced in the workplace that contains all of the MSDS information required by the standard. At a fixed worksite this hardcopy MSDS information must be readily accessible during each workshift to employees when they are in their work areas.

The standard allows the MSDS to, per paragraph (g)(10), "be kept in any form, including operating procedures," however, this provision applies to alternatives to MSDS located within a plant site (see Federal Register, vol. 48, No. 228, pg. 53337). This alternative approach was intended to allow employers to address the hazards of a process, rather than individual chemicals, again, within or while on a plant site. Substitutes for MSDS must provide all of the required information from the original MSDS in hardcopy format.

[Originally written for a state run program]

letter: LSioris 06-04-90

MSDS requirements for the construction industry

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(10) and 29 CFR 1926.59(g)(10)

Material safety data sheets (MSDSs) are required to be maintained at the jobsite. The basis for this interpretation is the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) definition of workplace which means "establishment, jobsite, or project, at one geographical location containing one or more work areas." The MSDSs must be on the jobsite and readily accessible to employees when they are in their work areas during the workshift. Alternatives, to actual paper copies of MSDSs, which provide readable copy on-site are permitted to meet this requirement. For example, computer terminals or FAX machines which allow employees to read and refer to the MSDS are permitted to be maintained at the jobsite, in lieu of paper copies, as long as no barriers to access exist.

memorandum: PClark (DCP) to MConners, RA 08-07-89

Providing MSDS Access/Copies - (g)(11)

Employee access to material safety data sheets (MSDSs)

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(11) and 29 CFR 1910.20

If an employee's exposure came from workplace use of the chemical, he may wish to contact his former place of employment and ask to be provided with a copy of the MSDS for that product. OSHA's "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records" standard, 29 CFR 1910.20, specifically identifies MSDSs as employee exposure records. If the MSDS is the only record of exposure, then the MSDS must be maintained by the employer for at least thirty years. The employer may have retained a record of the formulation of the chemical in lieu of retaining the data sheet, and under 1910.20 an employee may obtain this information from his employer.

An employee may also want to contact the manufacturer directly to request a copy of the MSDS for the product.

letter: MMcNulty 08-28-92

Informing physicians through the MSDS

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(11)

To provide proper treatment, your physician will need to know the specific product in your workplace. Under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard, your employer is to ensure that containers are labeled, material safety data sheets (MSDS) with more detailed information are provided, and that exposed workers are trained to handle the material properly. The MSDS for the product you have been exposed to would help your physician. Your employer should give you a copy upon request.

[Originally written about epoxy]

letter: WRichards 03-20-90

MSDS included in employee exposure records

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(11) and 29 CFR 1910.20

The rule [on Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records] further goes on to define "employee exposure records" as including material safety data sheets (MSDS) that indicate that the material may pose a hazard to human health. ... publication of this amended rule in the Federal Register serves as notice of its requirements to all affected parties.

[Originally written for the construction industry]

letter: SSolowiej 08-22-89

Citing both HCS and access to records requirements

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(11) and 29 CFR 1910.20

It would not necessarily be inappropriate, depending on the specific circumstances involved, to reference both 1910.20 and 1926.59 in the same citation. The purpose of 1910.20 is to provide employees and their designated representatives a right of access to relevant exposure and medical records. While related to the purpose of 1910.20, the intent of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is slightly different: to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are evaluated, and that information concerning these hazards is transmitted to employers and their employees. As a means of transmitting this hazard information, the HCS requires that material safety data sheets (MSDS) must be readily available to employees. Similarly, 1910.20 requires that employees must be given the right and opportunity to examine and copy medical or exposure records, including the MSDS. Since violations of the requirements of 1910.20 and 1926.59 are related, but not identical, it would not be inappropriate to cite both standards in a situation where both violations existed.

letter: SSolowiej 08-22-89

First copy of MSDS must be provided without cost to employee representative

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(11) and 29 CFR 1910.20(e)

Question: Is an employer expected to provide, at no cost, a copy of all material safety data sheets to a representative of his/her employees?

A material safety data sheet is defined as an employee exposure record under OSHA regulation 29 CFR l910.20. Whenever an employee representative places an initial request for an exposure record, l9lO.20(e) requires that the employer either (1) provide a copy of the record without cost; (2) make available mechanical copying facilities; or (3) loan the record for a reasonable period of time. An employer may charge administrative costs for a second and any subsequent request for the same record by the same employee group.

letter: RMontgomery 06-30-88

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