Ask the Expert, Recordkeeping

Ask the Expert: Safety Data Sheet Access

In our latest installment of Ask the Expert, brought to you by the team of industry experts at EHS Hero®, we look at a recent question from a subscriber asking about worker access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS). See what the experts had to say.

Q: Define the access workers need to have for Safety Data Sheets.

Workers must have immediate access to SDS for the hazardous chemicals in their work area without having to ask a supervisor.  

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(8) states “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.)” [emphasis added]

OSHA added in an official Letter of Interpretation that “as required under 1910.1200, [SDSs] must be readily accessible to the employees during each work shift and in their work area(s). Employees should not have to ask for an [SDS], as this could be perceived by employees as a barrier to access. For instance, if an employee must go through a supervisor to receive an [SDS], the employee may feel that this singles him or her out. This could very well dampen the employee’s resolve to seek out necessary hazard information.

Within your Enviro.BLR.com service, the national regulatory analysis for the SDS topic contains a heading titled “Employee Access to SDS” that affirms the aforementioned OSHA regulatory content.