Safety data sheets are a main component in OSHA and GHS safety compliance. These sheets must contain all required hazard information, be updated regularly, and be readily accessible to all employees. Whether generating SDS using safety data sheet software or some other way, SDS services must meet OSHA compliance with content, accessibility, and distribution.

Failure to do so is considered as OSHA non-compliant. Some companies may be out of compliance without even realizing it. Check the following common compliance concerns to keep them from becoming an issue.

Lack of SDS Sheets

OSHA compliance requires that companies have safety data sheets available for every chemical listed as a hazardous substance, no matter how benign that substance may seem. Company SDS services must ensure that all substances used and stored by the business are accounted for and keep the sheets available at all times.

Not Providing Sheets with Shipments

Whether functioning as a distributor of products or chemicals or shipping directly to customers, any item that has a safety data sheet must be shipped with one. Failure to do so can result in non-compliance penalties.

Not Providing Sheets When Requested

Regardless of how a request for chemical information is received, a company must immediately provide the requested SDS and ensure its delivery. Sheets generated from safety data sheet software can be emailed, faxed, mailed, or provided in person. They must be promptly distributed or a business could face non-compliance penalties.

Not Easily Accessible By Employees

The entire purpose of providing important workplace safety information is so employees can use it. This information must be readily available, without barriers, in either hard format or electronic format on a computer to which employees have convenient access, including the right network permissions. Employees should be able to access safety data when needed without having to request permission from supervisory staff. 

Not Providing SDS At Each Location

There is a misinterpretation that SDS compliance means that a company only needs to make this information available at a main location. This is incorrect. According to OSHA regulations, a business must use SDS services that manage this information at every business location so that every employee has onsite access at all times.

Emergency Backup of SDS

Electronic SDS services, such as the use of safety data sheet software, email, and cloud databases, are all accepted forms of SDS management and distribution; however, a company must have an emergency backup when they rely on these provision forms. In the event the power goes out, the internet connection is lost, or there is a problem reaching the cloud host, employees must have another option to access this critical information. Companies need to keep an accessible, updated hard copy of all sheets onsite at each worksite to be in compliance.

Every year, many companies receive penalties for failure to comply with OSHA laws pertaining to hazard communication and safety data sheet accessibility and distribution. Fines can be up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the compliance issue and whether there was willful knowledge of non-compliance that was never corrected. Fortunately, most of these issues are easily remedied by SDS services that use compliant safety data sheet software and plan good SDS management!

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