Frequently Asked Questions Safety Data Sheets

(GHS) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

GHS Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals  

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How is the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) changing under the revised Hazard Communication Standard?

The information required on the safety data sheet (SDS) will remain essentially the same as that in the current standard (HazCom 1994). HazCom 1994 indicates what information has to be included on an SDS, but does not specify a format for presentation or order of information. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) requires that the information on the SDS be presented using specific headings in a specified sequence.

Paragraph (g) of the final rule provides the headings of information to be included on the SDS and the order in which they are to be provided. In addition, Appendix D provides the information to be included under each heading. The SDS format is the same as the ANSI standard format which is widely used in the U.S. and is already familiar to many employees.

The format of the 16-section SDS should include the following sections:

Section 1. Identification
Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
Section 4. First-Aid measures
Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
Section 6. Accidental release measures
Section 7. Handling and storage
Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
Section 10. Stability and reactivity
Section 11. Toxicological information
Section 12. Ecological information
Section 13. Disposal considerations
Section 14. Transport information
Section 15. Regulatory information
Section 16. Other information, including date of preparation or last revision
The SDS must also contain Sections 12-15, to be consistent with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Although the headings for Sections 12-15 are mandatory, OSHA will not enforce the content of these four sections because these sections are within other agencies' jurisdictions.

Will TLVs be required on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
OSHA is retaining the requirement to include the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) on the safety data sheet (SDS) in the revised Standard. OSHA finds that requiring TLVs on the SDS will provide employers and employees with useful information to help them assess the hazards presented by their workplaces. In addition to TLVs, OSHA permissible exposure limits (PELs), and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the safety data sheet are also required.
May the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) lists be used to make carcinogen classifications?
In the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), OSHA has provided classifiers with the option of relying on the classification listings of IARC and NTP to make classification decisions regarding carcinogenicity, rather than applying the criteria themselves. OSHA believes that this will make classification easier for classifiers, as well as lead to greater consistency. In addition, OSHA has provided in non-mandatory Appendix F of the revised rule, guidance on hazard classification for carcinogenicity. Part A of Appendix F includes background guidance provided by GHS based on the Preamble of the IARC "Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans" (2006). Part B provides IARC classification information. Part C provides background guidance from the National NTP "Report on Carcinogens" (RoC), and Part D is a table that compares GHS carcinogen hazard categories to carcinogen classifications under IARC and NTP, allowing classifiers to be able to use information from IARC and NTP RoC carcinogen classifications to complete their classifications under the GHS, and thus the HCS.
Will the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) classifications be required on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
OSHA has retained the requirement to include IARC and NTP classifications on safety data sheets (SDSs). Therefore, if a chemical is listed as a carcinogen by either IARC or NTP, it must be noted on the SDS. Additionally, if OSHA finds a chemical to be a carcinogen, it must be noted on the SDS as well.