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MSDS Search - Access More than 3.5 Million Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
Enviro.BLR.com's online MSDS Search provides you with quick and easy access to more than 3.5 million updated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) so that you can be sure that you stay in compliance with the law, prevent injuries, and avoid fines.
The Hazard Communication Standard says that it's an employer's responsibility to provide employees with information on any hazardous chemical they are exposed to. With Enviro.BLR.com's MSDS Search you can view MSDSs online, download them to your computer, or even print them out and create your own MSDS binder.
Instant access to over 3.5 million MSDSs including:
  • Acetic Acid
  • Acetone
  • Acetonitrile
  • Acetylene
  • Aluminum
  • Benzene
  • Carbon
  • Chlorine
  • Chloroform
  • Clorox
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Iodine
  • Isopropanol
  • Kerosene
  • Krylon
  • Menthanol
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Nitric Acid
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Propylene Glycol
  • PVC
  • Sodium
  • Styrene
  • Toluene
  • WD-40
  • Windex
The SDS: Your One-Stop Resource for Chemical Safety

Rudimentary forms of safety data sheets (SDSs) have been available since the 19th century. Some experts trace their history even further back to hieroglyphics found inside the Egyptian pyramids regarding the effects of various chemicals. But the modern SDS is a relatively recent invention, appearing a little over 50 years ago, with the first regulatory requirements adopted by the former Bureau of Labor Standards for the maritime industry, some 20 years before OSHA was created.

Today, OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) regulates the use of SDSs. The standard requires you to obtain copies with incoming shipments of hazardous chemicals, to ensure that SDSs are readily accessible to employees during each work shift, and to make sure workers understand the safety and health information contained in this indispensable document, which OSHA calls a "one-stop resource for everything you might need or want to know about a chemical."

Complete, Accurate, and Clear

Since SDSs are really the backbone of the Hazard Communication Standard and your hazard communication program, it's important to make sure they're complete, accurate, and clear. To that end, you should:

  • Audit the SDSs used by your employees to be sure they are complete and comply with OSHA requirements. Remember, required information includes:
    • Material identification
    • Identity of hazardous ingredients
    • Physical/chemical characteristics
    • Fire, explosion, and reactivity hazard
    • Health hazards and first aid
    • Precautions for safe handling and use
    • Control measures
  • Double-check with your safety director or the chemical manufacturer if you have questions about information contained in an SDS. The standard says that the manufacturer or importer who prepares the SDS must "ensure that the information recorded accurately reflects the scientific evidence used in making the hazard determination."
  • Review sheets in your inventory and "translate" technical jargon that makes the SDS difficult for users of all educational levels to understand, or ask that the manufacturer or a specialty safety consultant do this for you.
  • Consider the needs of employees who don't read or understand English. Although OSHA only requires that SDSs be in English, the law also says you must ensure that workers know how to obtain and use information on SDSs and chemical labels. One solution is to have bilingual employees on each shift who can translate relevant SDS data. Better still-especially if you have a lot of non-English-speaking employees-have your inventory of SDSs translated. If you opt for the second solution, be sure to choose a translator or service that specializes in technical safety information.

Access Is Essential

In addition to content, you also have to be concerned about access. Employees must always be able to get their hands on the SDSs they need. This means that whatever SDS management system you use-paper or electronic-it must be functional and available at all times.

If you maintain a paper file, make sure it's easily accessible and that employees know where to find it.

If you use an electronic system, OSHA says you must make sure there are "no barriers to immediate employee access." For example, if your SDSs are on CD-ROM or your company's intranet, failure to provide computers and/or computer training to employees would be considered a barrier to access and, therefore, subject to citation by OSHA. Similarly, if you use a fax service to provide SDSs, failure to provide immediate employee access to a fax machine or to train employees how to contact the service would be a violation of the standard.

Another important issue: If you normally rely on an electronic system, anticipate emergency situations, and make sure you have a backup system, such as a paper file, to ensure access in case the electronic system fails.

Time for Review

Of course, providing SDSs is only half the story. The other half is that your employees actually have to use them. One way to help instill the habit of actively using SDSs is to hold refresher training on the different hazardous chemicals employees work with-and to make the SDS for each chemical the centerpiece of the training session. There are plenty of reasons to justify such a session:

  • A new chemical is introduced into the workplace (or a familiar chemical from a different manufacturer).
  • A new use or process for a chemical is introduced, requiring new or different safe work procedures.
  • A new SDS form-either a different format, or revised information-comes into the workplace.
  • New employees entering the workforce may not be familiar with a chemical and safety rules for using it.
The Hazard Communication Standard says that it's an employer's responsibility to provide employees with information on any hazardous chemical they are exposed to. With Enviro.BLR.com's MSDS Search you can view MSDSs online, download them to your computer, or even print them out and create your own MSDS binder.
The Ins and Outs of the Electronic SDS

Thinking of going electronic for your SDSs? Many companies are doing away with cumbersome paper filing systems in favor of such electronic systems as online SDSs, CD-ROMs, customized databases, and fax-back systems. For many companies, this is a sensible, cost-effective way to go. OSHA's on-board with the idea as well--as long as there are no barriers to immediate employee access. "Immediate access" means that, in emergencies, the SDS should be available during the workshift when it was requested. In nonemergencies, it should be available by the next workshift at the latest.

Why It Matters...
  • SDSs are an integral part of OSHA-required hazard communication and an essential part of your chemical safety program.
  • Electronic systems can streamline SDS storage and retrieval, making administration easier for you and access quicker and easier for employees.
  • But remember, you are still ultimately responsible for compliance--which means ensuring accuracy of information, immediate employee access to SDSs, and a backup system in case your electronic system fails.

What to look for in an electronic system. Whichever electronic SDS system you choose, it should be:

  • Reliable. Electronic systems must provide reliable access 24/7, if necessary. Even with a backup, you don't want a system that doesn't guarantee maximum reliability. Ask suppliers for references and then call to ask them about reliability and their overall satisfaction with the system.
  • Easy to use. Check out any system you might be interested in to make sure it's easy to use. If it's too complicated, some employees may have trouble using it, and might, as a result, skip checking an SDS when they should. To combat this, have employees at different computer skill levels try the system out and give you their impressions before you purchase.
  • Accurate. Even if you buy a program from a reliable supplier, remember, according to OSHA, you're the one who's ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the information your workers get from SDSs. That means you need to be certain the supplier provides complete, accurate, and up-to-date SDSs without fail.
  • Compatible with your computer systems. Whatever electronic SDS system you choose has to be compatible with your hardware and software. Otherwise, you could be looking at expensive upgrades or crippling technical problems.
  • Cost-effective. Compare the cost of maintaining a paper filing system with the cost of an electronic system. Are you going to be saving any money? If not, is the extra expense justifiable in terms of efficiency, speed, and improved employee access to essential safety information?
  • Accessible to all employees who need it. If you use an electronic SDS system, all employees who need to use SDSs must have access to computer terminals or other necessary equipment and must be trained to use the system and the equipment correctly. If the terminals aren't right there in the work area, and if all the employees who use SDSs haven't been trained in the electronic system, you're not meeting OSHA's immediate access requirement and are in violation of the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

Don't forget about testing and backup systems. If you use any kind of electronic SDS system, it has to be tested regularly to make sure everything is working properly and employees are having no trouble accessing the SDSs they need. Even if your electronic system is working perfectly, according to OSHA Directive CPL 02-02-038, you still have to have a backup system to provide SDSs in the event of a system failure. Another electronic system can serve as a backup as long as it is not subject to the same problems as the primary system. For example, if a power outage will render your computer system inoperable in an emergency, you've got to have another reliable arrangement for contacting the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or other SDS provider (for instance, by cell phone) until your electronic system is up and running again. Otherwise, an on-site paper filing system may still be necessary as a backup.

The Hazard Communication Standard says that it's an employer's responsibility to provide employees with information on any hazardous chemical they are exposed to. With Enviro.BLR.com's MSDS Search you can view MSDSs online, download them to your computer, or even print them out and create your own MSDS binder.
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