Understanding HAZCOM 2012 Part 4: Safety Data Sheets

By: Jack E. Shea, REM, Regulatory Director | Sept. 10, 2015

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Over the last several weeks, we have focused our attention on labeling under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) 2012. We have reviewed how the HCS 2012 has changed not only the format of product labels, but also how we view containers. Another major change is the new Safety Data Sheet (SDS). I hope everyone is aware that there is no longer a document known as a Material Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS. We now have the standardized, 16-section SDS with strict ordering. So what does this conversion to the new SDS mean for us?

First, we need to realize that the SDS and the MSDS are one and the same, only the formats are different. I, for one, find the new standardized format to be great. It makes reviewing new products and training employees much simpler since everyone is now on the “same page.” Most of the additional requirements for management and production of SDSs are similar to the HCS 1994. You still are required to have the product identifier (product name) match on your SDS, label and chemical inventory list. You still are required to supply end-users (of your products) an SDS at no charge. [Wait, were we allowed to charge customers previously?]

Classification is the greatest single change affecting SDSs (and labels of course). While this may seem like a tremendous amount of work at first, once you understand the process, it really is not terribly difficult. Luckily for you, ChemScribe™ has been designed to assist you in the conversion, and can help simplify the classification process. Many of you may feel that you must provide additional information, but in reality, you provide the same information in an easier-to-understand and easier-to-digest format. The signal words, pictograms, hazard statements and precautionary statements tell the same basic story that the MSDS has provided for years, in a single, more easily read and understood location.

To learn more about how ChemScribe™ can help your company with the classification process, as well as SDS and label generation, please contact us. We offer the software and training needed to assist your company in maintaining compliance with the new HCS 2012 standard. 

Stay tuned next week for part 5 of our Understanding HAZCOM 2012 series. If you haven't already, you can  go back and read part one, part two, and part three.

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