Data Sheet Management
Managing Your MSDS
employers to maintain current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
on all chemicals used in the workplace, train employees on their
use and make MSDS readily available in the work area.
of this effort is the key to efficiency, effectiveness and
compliance. This starts with how containers of chemicals are
received and distributed throughout your facility.
If you donít have an MSDS system, follow these steps
chemicals you use. There are several ways to determine what
chemicals you have at your location. Using all of the following
methods will provided the best coverage to prevent missing
1. Make a list of all
suppliers that provide material covered by the OSHA standard...
Donít forget that items such as welding rods and bulk
processing materials must be included.
2. Get a list from all
suppliers of any chemicals they have sent you in the last three
3. Conduct a thorough
workplace survey. Have supervisors inventory all areas. Provide
them with a form to record all chemicals found, the storage
location, amount and end use.
4. Index all existing
MSDS by department
5. Send a letter to all
suppliers requesting current MSDS for all products they provide
your company. Keep a checklist to ensure they are received.
6. Compare your MSDS
index with the list of chemicals from step 2. and 3.
7. Resolve any
discrepancies and provide departments with updated MSDS copies.
Each MSDS book location should have a table of contents that
lists each chemical MSDS that is required to be in that book.
Keep a master index of each book and a master MSDS in a central
file that is controlled by one manager.
Establish the following
Shipping & Receiving
shipping manager as the key point for MSDS management. This
∑ Ensuring current MSDS
are in the Master book or computer files
∑ Updating all user
∑ Requesting new MSDS
from vendors and suppliers every year for all active products
∑ Manage and
maintaining the chemical labeling system
∑ Notifying the Safety
Department when new or modified MSDS are added.
∑ Not releasing new
products without permission from Safety Department
∑ Ensuring all
containers are properly labeled before distribution.
responsibilities should include:
∑ Determine chemical
safety training requirements for all existing and new products
∑ Monitor chemical
∑ Monitor storage
∑ Verify safe usage
∑ Making PPE
∑ Periodically audit
department MSDS files to ensure they are up-to-date
End User Department
∑ Ensure proper
storage, labeling, dispensing and use
∑ Train employees on
hazards and procedures
∑ Ensure MSDS are
∑ Ensure labels are
∑ Provide proper
transfer and dispensing containers
∑ Control issue and
return of unused chemicals
∑ Conduct weekly
chemical safety checks
Off premises use of
Employees who work away
from your facility must have on-site access to MSDS for the
chemicals they will be using. This is best accomplished by
maintaining worksite MSDS books. Provide a phone number contact
in the book for off-site employees if they have questions about
Once you have an
complete paper MSDS program established, you can now move to an
electronic storage system with a high degree of confidence that
all material will be covered. The system should provide a means
to easily find and sort MSDS by Product Name, Department and
usage. OSHA requires that a backup method be available in the
event of power outages or electronic equipment failure. Currently
there are no chemical MSDS databases that have all chemicals from
all suppliers. You cannot rely on Ďgeneric" MSDS since
OSHA requires you to maintain the MSDS provided for the specific
product from the specific supplier.
commercially developed databases allow for scanning paper copies
into the database. This saves time in that data need not be
re-typed into a standard format and you maintain the exact MSDS
provided by the supplier. The scanned files are then made
available through the database programís index system.
Scanned copies will not
provide a searchable database unless you can also enter basic
information about each file as it is added. As a minimum you will
want a program the allows you to enter the name of departments
that uses the specific MSDS, product name, supplier and current