The Importance of Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Having Safety Data Sheets, SDS is an essential part of any business or practice with hazardous chemicals. Employees need access to this database to understand the complications and handling of hazardous chemicals. By law, it is necessary to have, if not compliant, there can be significant violations, and it can become an expensive price to pay.
What is SDS?
OSHA requires Safety Data Sheets, which are necessary for running a business. They consist of information on hazardous chemicals that are within a facility. They go into depth regarding the physical, health, and environmental health hazards associated with the hazardous chemicals. The SDS also provides information on how to properly handle hazardous chemicals as well as how to store and transport the chemical. The SDS is broken down into 16 sections for employees and employers to access critical information easily and quickly.
Fines & Consequences
One of the most common OSHA violations includes hazard communication in general industry which is regarding an SDS, otherwise known as MSDS. It is crucial to keep the SDS updated every three years, legally. However, the SDS should “be revised within three months after a chemical manufacture or employer becomes aware of significant new information concerning the hazards of a chemical.” Depending on the severity of the penalty, fines range within three categories with the addition of state law and regulations. OSHA has three types of violations: severe, failure to abate, and willful or repeated. The penalty for serious if $15,625 per violation, failure to abate is $15625 per day beyond the abatement date, and it is $156,259 per violation for willful or repeated violations. With the high penalties for violation, keeping up to date with national and local levels of laws is an essential key to success.
Transitioning to electronic
With today’s prevalent technology, consider transitioning your hard copy SDS to an electronic copy. An electronic copy of the company’s SDS allows employees to access the information faster with a search index instead of flipping through pages. It can benefit the company with easy revision access and updating. However, having a backup is vital in case of a power outage or inability to access as it should always be accessible.
Hazard Communication Standard: Safety Data Sheets, www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA3514.pdf. Accessed 26 June 2023.
“OSHA Violations, Citations, and Fines List for 2023.” Safety By Design, 10 Jan. 2023, www.safetybydesigninc.com/osha-violation-types-osha-fines-list/.
“Resubmitting Revised SDSs Based on OSHA’s New Hazard Communication Standards.” EPA, www.epa.gov/epcra/resubmitting-revised-sdss-based-oshas-new-hazard-communication-standards#:~:text=OSHA%20regulations%20require%20an%20SDS,the%20hazards%20of%20a%20chemical. Accessed 26 June 2023.
“United States Department of Labor.” OSHA Penalties | Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov/penalties/. Accessed 26 June 2023.