Scenario: You are the newly hired full-time safety director of a manufacturing plant. You are the first person in this company who has full-time safety responsibilities. Prior to you, the Human Resources Manager also had safety responsibilities. During your initial audit of the safety program, you discover that there is no binder or filing of MSDS’s and SDS’s for chemicals or products no longer in use. After making a few inquiries, you discovered your employers did not keep safety data sheets when the product was no longer in use or an updated sheet was supplied by the vendor. When a chemical or product is no longer in use, the SDS is removed from the binder and thrown away.
You share with the Human Resources Manager that SDS’s for chemicals no longer used you still must keep safety data sheets and they must be retained for at least 30 years. The Human Resources Manager asks you where the OSHA Hazcom standard states that you must keep safety data sheets because he didn’t see this when he read the revised OSHA Hazard Communication standard. You open your Hazcom standard and cannot find this requirement that employers must keep safety data sheets after they are obsolete or the product is no longer in use.
Question: Are you correct in that SDS’s for chemicals no longer in use are required to be maintained for 30 years. If so, where is this requirement located?
Answer: You are correct; the 30-year requirement has not changed. However, the 30-year requirement is not found in the Hazcom standard. To find this 30-year requirement, you will need to go to the Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records standard (29 CFR 1910.1020(d)(1)(ii)(B)). The reasoning behind this is that SDS’s are considered employee exposure records.
While technically it isn’t required for you to keep an entire SDS (or MSDS) for 30 years, there is specific information contained in an SDS that must be kept. Typically, it’s easier to keep the SDS.
Must You Keep Obsolete Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for Chemicals Still in Use? Click here to find the answer.