Ask the Expert, Chemicals, Q&A

Q&A: Backup SDSs

Recently, a subscriber asked the following question:

Where can I find the OSHA requirements for backup SDS documents?

This was our response:

We assume that you are maintaining your safety data sheets (SDSs) electronically. If so, according to OSHA Instruction, Directive Number CPL 02-02-079 (effective July9, 2015), if the employer is maintaining the SDSs on a company website or with an off-site/web-based SDS service provider that faxes them, the employer must maintain a backup procedure or system (e.g., paper, another electronic system) for accessing SDSs in case the on-site electronic SDS management system fails.

The OSHA regulation (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8)) says, “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). (Electronic access and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the safety data sheets are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options.)”