Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Consumer Chemical Products and GHS SDS Requirements

Consumer chemical bottles

Do My Products Need a SDS?

Determining which of your consumer chemical products would require a GHS Safety Data Sheet (SDS), can sometimes be difficult and confusing. Which products actually do need to have compliant SDS, can differ depending on which country/region you are in, and how the product is being used.

Canada

In Canada, chemical products that are labeled, packaged, and sold at retail outlets as consumer products, are regulated by the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), and the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations 2001 (CCCR 2001). Examples of ‘retail’ outlets are stores such as Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, and corner gas stations that anyone off the street can walk into and buy chemical products in, etc.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and not sold at retail outlets, on the other hand, are regulated by the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR, or “WHMIS 2015“). It is the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015), where GHS SDS requirements are found, while the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not currently contain any SDS requirements at all.

In the HPA, in Part II, Section 12(j) and Schedule 1, CCPSA consumer products are actually excluded from the application of the Continue Reading…

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
How to Read a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Hockey Goalie

Safety Data Sheets Defend Your Employees

Chemical Safety in the workplace can be a topic most employers would like to avoid. However, not only is it vital to the employee’s and community’s wellbeing, it is a requirement by law. In comes Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to the rescue! If Chemical safety in the workplace was a hockey team, training, storage requirements, purchasing, disposal, and inventory requirements would make up the Center, Forwards, and Defense, leaving the cornerstone of any hockey team, the Goalie to represent Safety Data Sheets (SDS). OSHA Standard 1910.1200 (g)(8) states that The employer shall maintain in the workplace copies of the required 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). However without correct understanding of Safety Data Sheets, it would be like having an injured goalie in your starting lineup. Below are some tips for reading a 16-section format SDS.

Section 1. Identification:

Identifies the chemical on the SDS and displays the recommended uses. This section also provides contact information of the manufacturer as well as an emergency phone number.

Section 2. Hazard Identification:

The purpose of this section is to identify Continue Reading…

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Who is Authoring Your SDS? – Dare to Compare

Authoring safety data sheets (SDS) is a technical job and requires a thorough understanding of various regulations depending on the destination country. Companies may promote themselves as experts, but how can you be sure?

Some companies may contract SDS work out unbeknownst to you and act as the middle-person. This in turn can lead to delayed responses as they try to understand/interpret your questions and/or get in touch with the contractor.

An SDS is a valuable and critical component of your dangerous goods product and deserves as much attention as the finished product itself. When looking for an SDS authoring company ask them questions such as the following to be sure you are selecting the right one.

  1. How many SDS have they authored?
  2. Do they understand the rules/regulations if the authoring is done manually?
  3. Can they verify the accuracy of the data if using authoring software?
  4. How long have they been authoring SDSs?
  5. Is there a team of qualified peers to contact if necessary?
  6. What process/procedure is in place to guarantee non-disclosure and safeguard any confidential business information (i.e., formulations)?
  7. Are they using authoring software?
  8. Can the SDS be integrated into a user-friendly multi-location labeling system?
  9. What type of training do they have Continue Reading…
WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 – The Great SDS “Headache” – Concentrations

New Concentrations and Concentration Ranges Rules

If you’ve begun switching your MSDSs to SDSs under the new WHMIS 2015 regulations, you likely know this headache all too well.

With the publication and implementation of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR or WHMIS 2015), Health Canada removed the old Controlled Products Regulations’ (CPR or WHMIS 1988) list of prescribed concentration ranges that could be used in MSDSs. These concentrations were in place, in part, to allow some Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection when concentrations varied in a product. WHMIS 2015 now requires disclosure of exact concentrations of ingredients, or the actual concentration range of the ingredient. Actual concentration ranges can only be used if the concentration varies in the product due to issues such as batch to batch variability. You cannot list a range if you have an exact concentration, and simply wanted to “protect your formula”.

Suppliers would be required to file a CBI claim under WHMIS 2015 requirements, if even just to protect the exact concentration of one ingredient on a SDS. A whole host of difficulties may face the supplier in obtaining information that would be needed to complete this type of CBI submission, such as obtaining exact concentration information from suppliers outside Continue Reading…

Environmental Update
EPA Aligns 40 CFR Part 370 with OSHA Hazcom 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final technical amendment to 40 CFR Part 370, in June 2016 which aligns the hazardous chemical reporting regulations to the changes in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazcom 2012.

These changes have a compliance date of January 1, 2018, and affect reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), sections 311 and 312.

Section 311 of EPCRA requires facilities to submit a SDS or a list of hazardous chemicals grouped by categories of physical and health hazards. Section 312 of EPCRA requires facilities to submit an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form yearly by March 1.

Prior to the change in 2012, the hazard communication regulations (OSHA) were performance oriented, and did not specify the language/description or format that the company had to use. Once the hazard communication regulations were updated, stakeholders requested that EPA align the wording to be consistent with the new OSHA Hazcom 2012 regulations.

Some of the changes in 40 CFR Part 370 include:

  • Technical terms have been updated (i.e., Material Safety Data Sheet to Safety Data Sheet)
  • The definition of Hazard Category has been updated
  • The “Five categories” (Fire/Sudden release of pressure/Reactive/Immediate acute and Delayed-chronic) have been changed to match the physical and Continue Reading…
OSHA Record Keeping
Sending and Receiving Safety Data Sheets

There are lots of songs out in the world about letters. You remember those things we used to write and send in the mail and have now been replaced by emails? There are some truly classic song regarding letters and the messages they carry. In 1961 The Marvelettes were begging their postman for a letter from a boyfriend indicating he was coming home. Click here for their song. This was followed in 1967 by The Box Tops song “The Letter” (listen here) where the singer is going home “because my baby done wrote me a letter”. This was followed in 1970 by Steve Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” that you can hear here. In this song the “letter” is actually Stevie letting his love know he is still hers.

So how do letters fit in today’s world of hazard communication? You may think they don’t, but actually they do. Think about when and how you receive your Safety Data Sheets (SDS). There are requirements for ensuring all workers know the hazards of the materials with which that work and that is usually accomplished by the SDS. What are the requirements for ensuring that you have an SDS for the hazardous chemicals in your workplace?

First, we Continue Reading…

OSHA Carcinogen
OSHA Celebrates World Cancer Day?

We all have reminders on our calendars for such things as holidays, birthdays, and appointments. As I looked forward to February for some planning purposes, the date of February 4th popped up as World Cancer Day. Is this a day to celebrate cancer? Does that even make sense when most of us upon hearing that word have some pretty strong negative reactions and emotions? This sent me on a path of fact checking. The purpose of World Cancer Day as established by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC) is to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. So, this day is similar to Earth Day or World AIDS Day then.

Since I work in the Regulatory World, I thought this would be an opportune time to talk about cancer in the realm of Hazard Communication. For many cancer is part of the acronym CMR which stands for materials that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. In OSHA HazCom 2012, Appendix A Subsection 6 covers the definition, classification criteria, and cut-off values for carcinogens. Are those pieces of information really enough to classify all of your products? Granted the regulation points out in A.6.2.5.2 some factors to consider, Continue Reading…

A Scientist, an Actor, a Businessman, and Unknown Toxicity

Many good jokes have a common setup to them. That setup involves a unique group of individuals and some sort of humorous interaction that ends with a punchline. So here is my setup for this blog. What do a famous scientist, an award-winning actress/comedian and a well-known businessman have in common? Let’s look at a quote from each of them.

  • From Werner Heisenberg, the scientist, and his book Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science:
    • Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding’.
  • From Gilda Radner, the actress/comedian:
    • Life is about not knowing, having to change and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
  • From Warren Buffet, the businessman:
    • Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.

Now, I don’t have the best punchline but there is a common thread in each of these. It is about the unknown.

As authors of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and labels, when researching ingredients there are times when there are no acute toxicity data in the literature on an ingredient. When this happens, alarm bells should ring. There is a very specific Continue Reading…

OSHA Hazard Communication Website Gets a Facelift

As I get older and more wrinkles, crow’s feet and age spots appear on my face, I consider some sort of plastic surgery like a facelift. According to the dictionary, a facelift is a procedure carried out to improve the appearance of someone or something.  A little nip and tuck, tightening and smoothing could go a long way in removing some of my signs of aging. So, how does my desire to look younger have anything to do with OSHA? To put it simply, OSHA’s website on Hazard Communication got a facelift.

US Department of Labor - OSHA Hazard Communication Website Screenshot
Click to enlarge

OSHA announced the update to the Hazard Communication website in the November 2nd QuickTakes newsletter under the Educational Resources section. To see the full newsletter, click here.

The new look actually makes the site easier to maneuver through as there are now drop-down tabs that can be used for faster searching for needed information. A quick review of each tab is as follows:

  • Safety Data Sheets: This tab includes the Safety Data Sheets QuikCard™ in both HTML and PDF formats along with the OSHA SDS Brief regarding Safety Data Sheets that incorporates Appendix D of the HazCom2012 regulation.
  • Labeling: On this tab the setup is very similar to that of the Safety Continue Reading…
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Why did you use an exact concentration?

Why was an exact concentration used? Health Canada eliminated the allowable ranges (previously allowed with WHMIS 1988) and went to exact concentrations. The only exception is if there is a batch variation. The other option is the customer can apply for an exemption. The blog found here http://www.thecompliancecenter.com/blog/2015/08/10/strictly-confidential-not-sds-ingredient-disclosure-cbi/ provides addition information.

Why is my product a class 9 in Canada when it was not previously?

On December 31, 2014 Transport Canada issued an amendment to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (SOR/2014-306). Details on this amendment can be found here http://www.thecompliancecenter.com/blog/2015/01/05/new-year-new-tdg-amendment/ . Essentially, Transport Canada brought in the criteria for classifying marine pollutants that follows the IMDG code. Based on the available aquatic data for fish, invertebrate and algae, the substance or product is given a classification. If that classification falls into Acute Category 1 or Chronic Category 1 or 2, it is regulated for transport and gets the shipping description Environmentally hazardous substance (solids or liquids), n.o.s. The USA still leaves this as an optional classification (you can still use the list or you can harmonize).